Why the US government actually wants people to try to hack it

Of course, only 'vetted' hackers are invited

The US government is inviting "vetted" hackers to try their hand at bypassing its network security in a new initiative called Hack the Pentagon.

The initiative is led by the Department of Defense (DoD)'s Defense Digital Service (DDS), and is the first in a series of programs that will be used to test and uncover vulnerabilities in the DoD's applications, websites and networks.

The announcement of the Hack the Pentagon competition also comes as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was named the chair of a new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which is essentially aimed at helping the DoD act more like a tech company.

Hack the gov

Modeled after bug bounty programs held by many companies, the competition is expected to launch next month. The details of the program are still being worked out, but "monetary awards and other recognition" may be offered to participants.

Those who want to participate will be required to undergo a background check before they're allowed to legally try and hack the government. More details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

"I am confident that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement announcing the competition.

He's also likely trying to play nice with sophisticated hackers so they don't, you know, actually try to take down the government.

Via Reuters