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DoD Opens .Mil to Legal Hacking, Within Limits

Hackers of all stripes looking to test their mettle can now legally hone their cyber skills, tools and weaponry against any Web property operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to a new military-wide policy for reporting and fixing security vulnerabilities.

Security researchers are often reluctant to report programming flaws or security holes they’ve stumbled upon for fear that the vulnerable organization might instead decide to shoot the messenger and pursue hacking charges. But on Nov. 21, the DoD aimed to clear up any ambiguity on that front for the military’s substantial online presence, creating both a centralized place to report cybersecurity flaws across the dot-mil space as well as a legal safe harbor (and the prospect of public recognition) for researchers who abide by a few ground rules.

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