Deep Dive (Dec. 15): DHS Offers $5,000 ‘Bug Bounty’ to Hackers for Help

President Joe Biden was in Kentucky Wednesday, surveying the damage from the deadly tornadoes. He said, “The way people just come out of nowhere to help as a community—and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. That’s what America is supposed to be. There are no red tornadoes or blue tornadoes. There’s no red states or blue states when this stuff starts to happen.” Despite the destruction, communities are coming together to help each other. Kentucky’s Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman said, “People across Kentucky coming together to support each other, it’s remarkable.”

A catastrophic default has been averted. The Senate voted to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion, extending it into 2023. The vote happened after a one-time fast-track process was put in place. Republicans had been pushing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own. The vote only needed a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 50 to 49. The measure goes next to the Democratic-controlled House. Currently, federal debt is $28.9 trillion and the latest increase to the debt ceiling is the largest in recent history.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will offer up to $5,000 to hackers to identify cyber vulnerabilities. It will shell out between $500 and $5,000 depending on, among other factors, the seriousness of the vulnerability. The new program, which is called “Hack DHS,” will be open to vetted cybersecurity researchers who have been invited. This comes after the United States warned that hundreds of millions of devices may be at risk from a newly revealed software vulnerability. A senior Biden administration cyber official warned industry executives Monday to address what she calls one of the most serious flaws she’s ever seen. The vulnerability is in a Java-based software called “Log4J.” Some of the world’s biggest tech firms use it to log data.

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