- The US State Department is offering bounties of up to $US10 million for information that helps it catch state hackers trying to meddle in the 2020 presidential election.
- The Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is offering money for any information that could lead to the identification or location of hackers.
- State-backed hackers from Russia, China, and Iran have already been detected trying to interfere with the 2020 election.
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With less than four months to go until the presidential 2020 election, the US has decided to offer a $US10 million bounty to anyone who can find foreign hackers trying to meddle in the election.
The State Department on Wednesday announced its Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is offering bounties on any information that could lead to the identification or location of: “any person who works with or for a foreign government for the purpose of interfering with US elections through certain illegal cyber activities.”
Specifically the reward applies to foreign hackers who are found to be in violation of Section 1030, title 18 of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which essentially criminalizes hackers gaining unauthorised access to computers.
The State Department said it will pay out bounties of up to $US10 million, but gave no details on how pricing would be pegged to quality of information.
ZDNet reports this is the third reward offered by the RFJ for foreign hackers this year: In April it offered a $US5 million reward for information on North Korean government hackers, and in July it offered two bounties of $US1 million apiece on two specific Ukrainian hackers.
Hacking from foreign nations became a huge issue during the 2016 election after Russian hackers stole and leaked emails and documents from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Russian state-backed efforts to interfere in the 2020 election were detected in February, and in June Google caught China and Iran-backed hackers trying to compromise the Trump and Biden campaigns.