With bright purple hair and shock-red lipstick, Katie Moussouris says she has no problem drawing attention to herself when she visits the Pentagon.
But the professional hacker and former Microsoft employee represents a major shift in the Department of Defense, which has contracted her company HackerOne to find digital saboteurs to attack the Pentagon and root out vulnerabilities. By adopting more private industry standards like this one and focusing on attracting young computer engineers and developers, in addition to those who will physically fight America’s wars, Defense Secretary Ash Carter hopes he can reinvigorate a cumbersome department at times resistant to change.
“This is a historic program in the U.S., and a historic program in the world,” Moussouris told a group of reporters here at the tech start-up incubator Capital Factory on Thursday, when asked why hackers would want to participate. “The prestige of being part of the first ‘bug bounty’ program for the U.S. government is also a commodity in itself.”
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