The Pentagon, through its Defence Digital Service, is hiring about 80 hackers to help detect security loopholes in its systems, it has been announced.
According to Lisa Wiswell, who works at the DDS, the program is meant to help the department manage all the risks that it faces early enough to avoid a disaster in the future.
‘We view cybersecurity as an important aspect of warfare in the present time,’ she said.
Interestingly, it has emerged that the hackers have managed to detect flaws in the defence systems of the DOD earlier than expected.
According to sources, it was expected that it would take at least a week for the hackers to detect any substantial risk in the defence systems of the department.
However, it has been reported that the hackers found substantial risks within the first hour of commencing the project.
When commenting on the findings, Lisa Wiswell said that it was a huge surprise to her and the entire department when the hackers managed to point out a clear flaw within the first hour of their work.
‘We were not expecting the hackers to find something tangible within such a short time,’ she said.
In the current program, the department recruited 80 leading hackers. The mandate of the hackers was to try to penetrate the file transfer system that the pentagon uses.
It has emerged that as part of the process of recruiting the hackers, the department had to do rigorous security checks.
The department then set up a simulated file transfer system that the hackers were supposed to work on. The hackers were supposed to attempt to get access to the system and access files. The hackers were also supposed to try to hijack the entire system and control it.
There have been mixed reactions about this project from cyber security experts. According to Wesley Wineberg, a cyber-security researcher who is participating in the program, the Pentagon systems have obvious strengths and weaknesses. He pointed out that there are very many areas that the Pentagon cybersecurity researchers have done a good job. However, he pointed out that there are areas on which the experts need to work.
The Pentagon will not share details of the findings of the experiment with the public.
This recent development comes at a time when the Pentagon has just awarded a $4 million contract to Synach, a cyber security firm. Under the terms of the deal, Synach is supposed to run a series of bug bounty programs on behalf of the Pentagon.