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US Air Force invites British hackers to test its defences

The US Air Force has invited hackers from the UK to register for a bug bounty program in which they will get the chance to test the cyber defences of the world’s biggest air force. 

The program is being run by HackerOne for the USAF, and comes after the Pentagon and the US Army tried similar initiatives.

The Pentagon’s program received about 200 reports of vulnerabilities and paid $75,000 in bounties. 

“We have malicious hackers trying to get into our systems every day,” Air Force chief information security officer Peter Kim told Federal Computer Weekly. He continued: “It will be nice to have friendly hackers taking a shot and, most importantly, showing us how to improve our cybersecurity and defence posture.”

However, unlike many similar competitions, the USAF is also open to applications from all of the ‘Five Eyes’ nations, that is to say, citizens of other countries that form part of the US intelligence umbrella: the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the US.

“Every business or organisation has a finite amount of time and specialised skills necessary to find vulnerabilities within their networks, but when you open them up to such a diverse group you get amazing results at low cost,” said Chris Lynch of the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service, which was behind the Pentagon bug bounty program.

The program will open on 15 May. 

It comes at the same time as the US Department of Defense upgrades guidelines for vulnerability disclosures, while the US National Security Agency has come under fire for exploiting security flaws that it has found for its own purposes, and not informing the creators of the software of the flaws, even many years afterwards. 

Computing Cybersecurity Strategy Briefing for the Financial Sector logo

Join Computing in London on 4 May for the Cyber Security Strategy Briefing 2017 for the Financial Sector. 

Speakers include Adam Koleda, IT director of insurance firm BPL Global; Peter Agathangelou, associate director of Hamilton Fraser Insurance; and, Dr Kuan Hon, consultant lawyer at law firm Pinsent Masons

Attendance is free to qualifying IT professionals and IT leaders – register now!

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