Cybersecurity in recent months has been on the tip of everyone's tongue. Though the U.S. President contends that a 400-pound bed-ridden man could have hacked the DNC, intelligence agencies have proven that Russia was behind the cyberattack with the intent of influencing the election in favor of Donald Trump.
It is somewhat unnerving that #45 will not condemn outright Russia's cybercrimes. What's more, it doesn't seem that the current administration or other high-seated officials understand the turning cyber tides.
As a small business owner, you most likely already understand the value of getting cyber coverage. Unfortunately, it seems prominent world leaders don't. Here are three quotes that it would easily be believed to have been written by Saturday Night Live writers, but unfortunately were not.
− "As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we're not. I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. [Secretary Clinton] is saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't-maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay? ... We came in with the Internet, we came up with the Internet, and I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what the [Islamic State] is doing with the Internet, they're beating us at our own game. ISIS." - Spoken by then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the first debate.
The first issue in Mr. Trump's answer is calling the internet "the cyber." This is an outdated buzzword.
The second issue in the above Trump quotation is that he equates the potential cybercrime of powerful governments against the U.S. with some lone wolf working from the privacy of his own home. If a low-level hacker can break into the DNC, doesn't that demonstrate the U.S.' vulnerability to a foreign actor who would seek to cause significant harm to the government?
The third issue is Mr. Trump's bounce to ISIS. ISIS does use social media to recruit and radicalize Muslims extremists, and in an interview with CNN FBI director James Comey expressed that this was a significant problem. They do also have a hacking collective, called the Cyber Caliphate. Mr. Trump has said that he wants to limit the Islamic State's use of social media in their efforts to garner new recruits, but he has not addressed their hacking collective. Which begs the question: Does the president know about the existence of the Cyber Caliphate?
− "[Cyberattacks are] like cancer. Everybody is studying it. Everybody has solutions. But nobody really talks to each other. Maybe we've cured it and don't know." - Rudy Giuliani in an interview with CNN.
Cyberattacks are a threat, with cybercriminals scaling up their efforts with every new security measure that hits the market. To say that the cybersecurity industry does not have an open dialogue is incorrect. White and gray hat hackers post security flaws online to let companies know they have a security issue. Silicon Valley has taken steps to combat the spread of fake news.
Though there is no cure to the hacks, there are ways to disable hacking collectives and tighten security. To be able to do this, leaders need to understand the who, what and where of the cyberattacks.
− "So we had to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a huge problem. I have a son-he's 10-years-old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers. It's unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe, it's hardly doable." - Spoken by then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the first debate
Again, Mr. Trump is equating foreign-sponsored cyberattacks with the computer knowledge of someone who most likely does not have the capacity to take down a server, namely a 10-year-old. Unless the new administration recognizes who is launching cyberattacks (Russia) and how they're doing it, foreign governments will continue to infiltrate data networks.
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