Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election is: Cybersecurity! (sorta)

Watching the train wreck, which is this year’s race for President of the Unite States of America, has shown me that the true winner of these debates is Cybersecurity (yeah that’s corny, but seriously read on). Never have I personally seen cybersecurity, or the lack of security, play such a large part in an election year. No matter who becomes President next month, it’s been interesting to see the effects that security has played in both campaigns. This is both encouraging, since there has been some major light shown on some serious issues, and disappointing, because these are the same concerns being brought up year after year. Either way, here are some keystone moments (and links) from this year that highlight cyber security as the clear winner of this year’s election:

E-voting insecurity
We’ve all known for quite some time that e-voting security has been a disaster. This election cycle is the first time that I’ve seen such attention brought up regarding it (which is awesome). I’m expecting to have both sides blame it as a potential reason that they really lost to the other (you don’t think they’d actual accept defeat do you?). But, seriously, this is a big deal. I completely agree for adding additional regulation within this area and whole heartedly concur that this technology should be deemed as critical infrastructure. I don’t freely like to adding regulation to technology, but in this case I think it’s important. When hackers, or nation states, have the capability to influence the election of a country the citizen of that nation have their voices silenced and democracy is no longer present. This is a big deal and probably the biggest issue I’ve seen come from this election from a cybersecurity perspective.  

Russians and WikiLeaks
It’s interesting to see how easy it is to shift blame when needed, but it’s happened to both sides already. At this point the DNC and the RNC have had to comment on whether or not Russia is attempting to influence the debates by hacking into the DNC and dumping data to WikiLeaks. There was some dirty laundry released by Wikileaks showing a few issues occurring within the DNC during the election process that eventually lead to the resignation of the DNC party leader. This has been the year of doxing where no information is considered safe! Hopefully, this sheds light on the way data is handled and how other countries and organizations can use it if not. I really think this is just the beginning on the way foreign powers will attempt to sway elections using hacking as their tool for disruption.  

Securing messages with Signal
It was found that anyone within Hillary Clinton’s campaign who was going to speak about Donald Trump, in a disparaging way, was to use Signal for their communication. Signal is an encryption app for mobile devices that’s been vetted via open source. This shows that people are now putting thought behind what they’re sending and is increasing awareness and the usability of encryption.  

Bleach Bit
Hillary Clinton’s tech team used a tool called Bleachbit in order to wipe her mail server. Over the past couple months due to security issues the Clinton campaign has turned to cybersecurity tools to defend, or hide depending on your party affiliations (LOL), data that’s been communicated through her campaign. Whatever way you lean, just the mention of these tools in the media shows how far we’ve come.  

Guccfier 2.0
The original Guccfier made a name for himself for admittedly saying he hacked Hillary Clinton’s mail server. After being held in custody his namesake came through again and someone is purportedly releasing information regarding the DNC that was compromised. This has been reported to be the Russians, but it shows the anonymity of the internet and how old methods of dealing with political issues has now become irrelevant.  

Edward Snowden Pardon
Edward Snowed and others are making the case that he should be granted a Presidential pardon from Obama before he leaves office. It’s of my personal opinion that Edward Snowden did America, actually the entire global, a service by unmasking the issue of mass surveillance. What he did was illegal, but it was needed to bring reform. Revolutions are never legal and it will be interesting to see if President Obama assists with coming through with his promise of protecting whistleblowers.  

Lost Emails and Mail Servers
This is has been discussed at nausea, but it’s really what started the debate of cybersecurity in this years election. The debate of hosting a personal mail server and determining which messages to be deleted by that user is still raging. Clinton has admitted that it was a mistake and hopefully this stops others from being careless in the future with sensitive information.  

Phishing Attacks
Not to pick on the DNC, but it seems that many of these cyber issues have been related to their party, it was reported that there were many phishing attempts generated towards Clintons site and email, some on which she seems to have fallen for. This shows that phishing is still an attack vector that attackers are going to fall back on as their default tool, because people will eventually fall for it.  

Presidential Debates
Throughout the year cybersecurity has become a speaking point to the candidates. From talking about offense attacks, Snowden, how to handle the complex problem of security going forward, etc. it shows that his is something not only on the candidate’s minds, but the people’s minds. This is proof cyber security is an epidemic if it’s being brought up between the Syria crisis, budget issues and unemployment. 

So, with all these cyber related issues being brought up during this year’s election, it’s a major win for security. I’m that these these issues being brought up will continue the conversation and assist with awareness, not only with the government, but with other organizations and people. At this point if Trump, Clinton get elected or giant meteorite destroys earth (third option is looking good right now), cyber security has taken center stage the past couple months and I’m optimistic it could bring about positive change.

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