Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned presidential campaigns on Wednesday that foreign hackers have them in their sights. Speaking during an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Clapper said intel officials have “already had some indications” that hackers are targeting presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle.
Clapper said federal agencies are working to educate national campaigns about the emerging threat – one that officials expect will grow more serious as this year’s general election gets into full swing.
In 2008 and 2012, the campaigns of the major party nominees faced threats from cyberattackers. It was revealed in 2013 that the Chinese government had managed to hack the campaigns of both Barack Obama and John McCain during the ’08 race.
It’s not only foreign agents who should worry national campaigns. Already this cycle, Anonymous declared its intention to take on Donald Trump’s campaign. And for a campaign of any size, security of voter data and internal systems is paramount.
Writing in C&E earlier this year, cybersecurity analyst James Norton urged leaders from the campaign community to be “active in dialogue with regulators on both the state and national level as they establish rules for the use of voter files in the digital era.”
As for individual campaigns, prioritizing cybersecurity from the start is critical, because national campaigns aren’t the only ones that may be vulnerable. For a few things campaigns should be thinking about when building their infrastructure, take a read of Norton’s primer piece here.