Army to pay "hackers" to expose cyber vulnerabilities

U.S. Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning was in Austin on Friday to announce a partnership between the Army and technology innovators. Fanning says the Army will rely on them to “hack” their recruiting websites and databases. “Personal information from people who want to join the army and people who are in the army,” Fanning says, adding, “and we want to make sure that we have that information secure and that we protect that personal information as much as possible.”

Fanning says Veterans, eligible U.S. Government employees and tech innovators from the private sector are being called on for the initiative. Fanning says the approval to include eligible members of the government and civilian government workers came late Thursday night. “We have a number of people inside the military, inside the government who want to participate as a way of contributing.”

“Hack The Army” comes on the heels of another Department of Defense program, where the U.S. Government paid hackers to expose vulnerabilities in the Pentagon's cyber-security. “What Hack The Pentagon validated is that there is a large number of technologists and innovators who want to make a contribution to our nation's security but lack the avenue to do so,” says Fanning. And as Fanning acknowledged, the federal government could use their help, “we aren't agile enough to keep up with a number of things that are happening in the tech world,” he says, “and a number of places outside of the Department of Defense.

Friday’s “Hack The Army” announcement was held at the Downtown Austin’s Capital Factory. The Capital Factory is an incubator for technology start-ups. Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler was also on hand for the event, “Austin is about the innovation and entrepreneurship,” he says about why the city was the perfect place for “Hack The Army’s launch.

Fanning says the Army’s sites and databases that will be “hacked” will be made public, and posted online HackerOne by the end of November.