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Illustration: Sam Jayne/Axios

Congress has struggled so far to write bug bounty legislation — which incentivizes independent testing of federal security — that the small handful of thought leaders in the field can embrace. But the new State Department bounty bill might pass muster, according to Casey Ellis, founder and chief technology officer of the bug bounty firm Bug Crowd.

Why it matters: While the programs are increasingly considered part of a well-balanced security diet, they are easier to get wrong than right.

The Hack Your State Department Act, which just passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requires State to offer a bug bounty — a reward program that pays independent researchers who report security flaws in public facing infrastructure.

Bug bounties take work: The most successful federal bug bounty programs have been those run by the Department of Defense, which made it look easy. Too easy.

  • Before a bug bounty program takes flight, a lot of things need to happen: Agencies need to restructure staff to be able to patch the influx of new bugs, create legal waivers to prevent good guys from being arrested for bad-guy hacking, and address all outstanding bugs to make room for the new ones coming.
  • "The problem with past bills is they saw Hack the Pentagon, that didn't take much time after being announced to launch, and told agencies to establish programs within 90 days," said Ellis.
  • But while the public didn't find out about Hack the Pentagon until late in the process, the Pentagon devoted two years to it before going public.
  • Hack Your State Department, introduced by Reps. Teds Lieu and Yoho (D-Calif. and R-Fla.) would give State a full year to set up the program, including a preparatory period where the department would accept and patch bugs but offer no reward.

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.