Come 'Hack the Air Force'? What could go wrong?

The U.S. Air Force has issued a hackers' invitational to "Hack the Air Force" in a bid to detect system vulnerabilities in the service's computer systems.  Successful hackers will be paid unspecified bounties.

It's not the first time this has been done.  According to Fortune, the U.S. Department of Defense last year issued a 'Hack the Pentagon' challenge to friendly hackers with the same aims.  It's also widely used in the corporate world.

Now, the justification given seems fairly sound: according to Fortune, security gaps can be uncovered very cheaply by paying rewards to hackers who help.  All the same, it's hard to think they aren't taking some sort of risk with this system.  Opening it to supposedly friendly hackers?  From the hoi pollloi?  What happens when unfriendly ones slip into the mix?  Who's to keep them from trying?  Or slip into the mix, find a vulnerability, and...not tell anyone?  Russia's RT News is on the job reporting this.

It's also significant that the Air Force is opening the contest only to its front sites, such as recruiting.  If there were no risk, why not open it to the missile launch sites or the advanced weaponry?  Surely, detecting system vulnerabilities in those areas is even more important.  Very interesting that they don't quite want to go there after telling the press there's no risk and much to be gained, cheaply.

OK, there probably is.  But it ought to give people the willies – and excite Hollywood screenwriters.

What could go wrong?

The U.S. Air Force has issued a hackers' invitational to "Hack the Air Force" in a bid to detect system vulnerabilities in the service's computer systems.  Successful hackers will be paid unspecified bounties.

It's not the first time this has been done.  According to Fortune, the U.S. Department of Defense last year issued a 'Hack the Pentagon' challenge to friendly hackers with the same aims.  It's also widely used in the corporate world.

Now, the justification given seems fairly sound: according to Fortune, security gaps can be uncovered very cheaply by paying rewards to hackers who help.  All the same, it's hard to think they aren't taking some sort of risk with this system.  Opening it to supposedly friendly hackers?  From the hoi pollloi?  What happens when unfriendly ones slip into the mix?  Who's to keep them from trying?  Or slip into the mix, find a vulnerability, and...not tell anyone?  Russia's RT News is on the job reporting this.

It's also significant that the Air Force is opening the contest only to its front sites, such as recruiting.  If there were no risk, why not open it to the missile launch sites or the advanced weaponry?  Surely, detecting system vulnerabilities in those areas is even more important.  Very interesting that they don't quite want to go there after telling the press there's no risk and much to be gained, cheaply.

OK, there probably is.  But it ought to give people the willies – and excite Hollywood screenwriters.

What could go wrong?

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