Hack the State Department? New Bill Aims to Make that Happen.

A duo of senators have introduced legislation that would create a program for white hat hackers to breach the State Department’s IT systems to hunt for cybersecurity flaws.

Under the Hack Your State Department Act, pre-screened professionals participating in the program would get paid for finding and disclosing a vulnerability. The bill also sets up a process for members of the public to report cybersecurity bugs to the State Department.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Ed Markey, D-Mass, and draws inspiration from the Hack the Department of Homeland Security program Gardner helped create.

“We need to be doing everything we can to make sure the State Department’s cyber defenses are hardened and can thwart cyber-attacks from bad actors that wish to do our country harm,” Gardner said June 12 in a statement. “This bipartisan bill will allow the general public to contribute to our nation’s cyber defenses and will result in a more secure cyber network at the State Department.”

Markey said there needs to be a more proactive approach to improve cyber defenses and secure the State Department’s data and workers before anything bad happens.

“This legislation is a powerful tool to build on similar, successful efforts that have helped other agencies like the Defense Department protect themselves in an increasingly hostile cyber environment,” he said.

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