Department of Homeland Security Announces “Bug Bounty” Program to Increase Cybersecurity Resilience

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The Department of Homeland Security has a big job. Not only does the agency work to protect the United States from physical threats, but it’s also become a self-described “quarterback” in the effort to stave off cyber attacks as well. And as the team lead, the DHS is hoping a new program will help ferret out vulnerabilities with the help of a group of hand-picked hackers. That’s right, DHS is enlisting a team of highly skilled cybersecurity researchers to take a crack at its external systems and find weaknesses that could be exploited. In exchange, the agency will offer what’s called a “bug bounty,” AKA, specific payments as a reward for the find. According to reports, the bounties will range from $500 to $5,000 depending on the severity of the security flaws being discovered. As Engadget points out, private businesses have been offering their own bug bounty-type programs for years, allowing some hackers to hit major paydirt. For example, Apple’s bounty program — which it made open to anyone in 2019 — has offered payouts as high as $1 million.

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