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Air Force Eyes Ethical Hacking Procedures for Satellites, Components; Will Roper Comments

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Will Roper
Will Roper

The U.S. Air Force plans to launch a bug bounty competition as part of its “Hack the Air Force” program to fortify the security of its satellites and supply chain, Federal News Network reported Wednesday

The service branch wants to select teams for its “Hack-a-Sat” competition focused on infiltrating a military satellite at next year’s DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas. Last year, the Air Force provided ethical hackers with access to a data transmission system for F-15 aircraft and ground-based platforms.

Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics and 2019 Wash100 Award winner, said during an Atlantic Council event that the service needs to shift its focus on protecting aircraft components and other parts manufactured at the supply chain level. He also wants to eventually test technologies through ethical hacking procedures before they are installed into an operational system.

“My hope is that we can bring the ethical hacker community into our design process, that we can do bug bounties when we’re designing things and building prototypes, and that people can make a living just hacking Air Force systems before they go to production,” he noted.

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