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Pentagon competition dares you to hack its websites

'Hack the Pentagon' aims to boost online security by testing defenses.

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The US military already tests the security of its networks, but it doesn't feel that's enough in an era when cyberattacks are a constant reality. It's starting up an experimental competition, Hack the Pentagon, that invites private citizens (carefully screened, of course) to hack public Department of Defense websites. While the government is keeping sensitive systems off-limits, this will hopefully identify vulnerabilities that in-house experts wouldn't catch.

The project is still rough around the edges, even though it's due to begin in April. Officials haven't finished defining the rules, and they're not sure whether or not there will be cash rewards for those who break in. If it's successful, though, it could prevent for-real hacks that could lead to everything from public humiliation to data breaches.

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