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Hack the Pentagon 3.0 Bug Bounty Program to Focus on Facility Control Systems

The Department of Defense is launching the third installment of its ‘Hack the Pentagon’ bug bounty program, which will focus on the Facility Related Controls System (FRCS) network.

Hack the Pentagon

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is getting ready to launch the third installment of its ‘Hack the Pentagon’ bug bounty program, which will focus on the Facility Related Controls System (FRCS) network.

Hack the Pentagon was launched in 2016 on HackerOne, when the DoD invited ethical hackers to find and report security defects in Pentagon’s public web pages.

In 2018, the DoD announced a continuous Hack the Pentagon program running year-long on Bugcrowd and targeting vulnerabilities in hardware and physical systems and other high-value assets.

According to a draft solicitation released on Friday, as part of Hack the Pentagon 3.0, DoD will rely on ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities in FRCS.

The DoD’s FRCS includes control systems that are used to monitor and control equipment and systems related to real property facilities, such as HVAC, utilities, physical security systems, and fire and safety systems.

“The overall objective is to obtain support from a pool of innovative information security researchers via crowdsourcing for vulnerability discovery, coordination and disclosure activities and to assess the current cybersecurity posture of the FRCS network, identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and provide recommendations to improve and strengthen the overall security posture,” the draft reads.

Per the document, the DoD is looking to engage with a private organization that has expertise in commercial crowdsourcing, to select “a private community of skilled and trusted researchers, which may be limited to US persons only” to participate in the program.

For previous bug bounty programs – which also included Hack the Air ForceHack the ArmyHack the Marine Corps and Hack the Defense Travel System – in addition to working with HackerOne and Bugcrowd, the DoD partnered with Synack to vet participating researchers.

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The draft also makes it clear that the DoD will establish the eligibility criteria for the participating researchers, and that participants will have to be able to perform reverse engineering, source code analysis, and network and system exploitation.

“The bounty execution or ‘challenge phase’ itself is expected to last no more than 72 hours in person,” the draft reads.

Related: DoD Launches ‘Hack US’ Bounties for Major Flaws in Publicly Exposed Assets

Related: ‘Hack DHS’ Participants Awarded $125,000 for Over 100 Vulnerabilities

Related: DoD Announces Results of Vulnerability Disclosure Program for Defense Contractors

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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