Bill would create bug bounty program inside DHS

The bill would create programs similar to initiatives at DOD and GSA.

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill to create a bug bounty program inside the Department of Homeland Security.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the Hack Department of Homeland Security Act, which would establish a bug bounty pilot program similar to ones in use at the Department of Defense and major tech companies around the world.

“Federal agencies like DHS are under assault every day from cyberattacks.  These attacks threaten the safety, security and privacy of millions of Americans and in order to protect DHS and the American people from these threats, the Department will need help,” Hassan said in a statement.

Bug bounty programs have started to catch on inside the government, buoyed by the Hack the Pentagon program that saw DOD issue $71,200 in bounties to hackers who found vulnerabilities are certain agency websites and systems. Since then, various military branches have created their own bounties. On the civilian side, the IRS and GSA have created similar programs. Outside vendors such as HackerOne and Synack typically have helped the government with such initiatives.


“The networks and systems at DHS are vital to our nation’s security.  It’s imperative that we take every step to protect DHS from the many cyber attacks they face every day,” said Portman.

The bill is also sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.


Greg Otto

Written by Greg Otto

Greg Otto is Editor-in-Chief of CyberScoop, overseeing all editorial content for the website. Greg has led cybersecurity coverage that has won various awards, including accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Greg worked for the Washington Business Journal, U.S. News & World Report and WTOP Radio. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Temple University.

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