Swiss government to employ hackers to help strengthen cyber security
After a successful pilot scheme, the government has announced that it will be giving “ethical computer hackers” jobs in Switzerland, to help improve the country’s cyber security. Their main job will be identifying vulnerabilities in government systems that may be exploited by cyber attacks.
Swiss government gives jobs to ethical hackers
In a statement given to Watson, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) confirmed that it would be employing hackers in the near future. They admitted that “standardised security tests are often no longer sufficient to uncover hidden vulnerabilities. This is why… this research task will in future be entrusted to ethical hackers.”
It follows a successful “bug bounty” pilot scheme concluded in May 2021. Bug bounty schemes are used by international companies, entrepreneurs and governments to help solve IT and security issues. In most programmes, hackers are encouraged to seek out vulnerabilities in computer systems, but instead of exploiting them as a normal hacker would, they simplify identify the issue and are then compensated for their work.
Bug bounty hackers identify 10 security issues in Swiss government
As part of the government’s pilot scheme, 15 hackers were invited to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Parliamentary Services Office in Bern. Their task was to identify vulnerable systems within the government and help solve security issues.
Soon after the experiment began, the hackers were able to identify and help plug 10 separate security flaws within the government’s systems, one of which turned out to be “critical.” "Based on the experience of this project, it was decided to extend the bug bounty program to as many federal government computer systems as possible," the FDF concluded.