Hacking Congress: The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

Conference:  Defcon 27



The conference presentation discussed the importance of cybersecurity in government and the need for a centralized approach to addressing vulnerabilities. The speaker highlighted the success of previous bug bounty programs and emphasized the importance of engaging with the hacking community to improve cybersecurity measures.
  • Congress passed a bill requiring DHS to assess cybersecurity vulnerabilities and create a bug bounty program
  • The hack the Pentagon program was successful and encouraged the implementation of similar programs
  • Failure is important for learning and fostering a culture of risk-taking
  • Imagination is necessary for anticipating and addressing potential cyber threats
  • Engaging with the hacking community can improve cybersecurity measures
The speaker shared that they had learned a lot from attending DEFCON and engaging with the hacking community. They emphasized that hackers often break things in order to make the internet work better, and that this strength should be leveraged to improve cybersecurity measures.


A SIMULATED crisis is unfolding on a national scale, based loosely on the NotPetya attack of 2017. Triggered by a yet-unknown adversary, what started as a an isolated technical issue has quickly escalated into a society-wide event affecting millions of citizens, several industries, and spanning government jurisdictions. Who is in charge, how do they cooperate with others, and how do they make decisions? The Wilson Center, Hewlett Foundation and I Am The Calvary are teaming up to bring public policymakers together with security researchers and others to discover how our nation might respond to a wide-scale “cyber crisis”. Work in tandem with sitting Members of Congress to understand what levers of power Congress yields and how Members can address policy gaps in the future.



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