April 27 (UPI) -- Vetted cyber-security experts are being invited by the U.S. Air Force to join an initiative to hack the service's key public websites.
The initiative, part of the Cyber Secure campaign sponsored by the Air Force's chief information officer, will feature a contest from May 30 to June 23 in which approved "white hat" hackers will try to penetrate the sites to expose vulnerabilities.
In addition to U.S. citizens, nationals from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are eligible to participate.
"This is the first time the AF has opened up our networks to such a broad scrutiny," Peter Kim, the Air Force's chief information security officer, said in a press release. "We have malicious hackers trying to get into our systems every day. It will be nice to have friendly hackers taking a shot and, most importantly, showing us how to improve our cyber-security and defense posture."
"The additional participation from our partner nations greatly widens the variety of experience available to find additional unique vulnerabilities."
The event expands on the Department of Defense's "Hack the Pentagon" bug bounty program, officials said.
Those interested in participating can register at the website for HackerOne, the security consulting firm running the contest.
"This outside approach -- drawing on the talent and expertise of our citizens and partner-nation citizens -- in identifying our security vulnerabilities will help bolster our cybersecurity," said U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "We already aggressively conduct exercises and 'red team' our public facing and critical websites. But this next step throws open the doors and brings additional talent onto our cyber team."