Portman, Hassan Announce DHS Making Their Bug Bounty Cybersecurity Program Permanent

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) applauded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for announcing that it was creating a permanent bug bounty cybersecurity program based on the results of the pilot program created by the senators’ bipartisan Hack DHS Act that was signed into law in 2018. The HACK DHS Act directed DHS to launch a bug bounty pilot program, which the Department did in 2019, that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the DHS networks and information technology. In light of the pilot program’s success, the Department has announced a permanent bug bounty program to identify potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities within certain DHS systems and increase the Department’s cybersecurity resilience. 

“At a time when cyber threats are on the rise, I’m pleased that DHS is making permanent the bug bounty program I created with Senator Hassan to ensure our federal government is better prepared to protect itself,” said Senator Portman. “Our bipartisan law ensures that the federal government draws upon the vast expertise of hackers and security experts in our country to identify vulnerabilities and report them to the people in positions to fix those flaws in our systems.” 

“The Department of Homeland Security is central to the safety and security of Granite Staters and Americans, and it is imperative that their online systems can withstand an attack,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that following the success of our bug bounty pilot program, the Department has decided to make this program a permanent part of its cybersecurity strategy. I will continue to work across the aisle on commonsense ways to strengthen our cybersecurity, and in turn, our national security.”   

Senator Portman has led efforts to address state and local cybersecurity threats as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Portman and Hassan to create a Cybersecurity Coordinator in every state to help facilitate information sharing on cyber security best practices and response strategies was signed into law as a part of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In addition, bipartisan legislation introduced by the senators to bolster cybersecurity in the public and private sector was signed into law in 2019.