Rising Importance of Cybersecurity in the U.S.

Cybersecurity continues to be a core issue for presidential candidates in 2020 as the whole nation has already witnessed a series of data breaches in the last few years. We need to be absolutely sure that the candidates in question have a privacy policy published on their websites. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appears to be the most aware candidate on cybersecurity issues at the moment due to her insistence on adopting stronger cybersecurity practices. Donald Trump’s position on cybersecurity suffered since the news of his past public breach and Russian intervention in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

It’s been three years since media reports showed hackers were interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential race to influence the decision of voters. A majority of the country’s candidates in the 2020 presidential election are fighting a losing battle with cybersecurity issues, according to a nonpartisan group focused on internet protocol.

Most of the 23 candidates in the electoral race failed to meet the privacy and security standards established by the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance (OTA). The latest research shows the mounting pressure countries are facing to protect online security during elections, as well as in their infrastructure and industries.

The study by the OTA examined how well the 23 Democratic, Republican, and Independent candidates are tackling online security challenges in their campaigns. Only seven out of the 23 politicians scored 80% and higher in campaign cybersecurity, which means researchers found no failures in the three areas examined: privacy, website security, and consumer protection. Weaknesses ensuring the data privacy of users accessing the candidate’s online platforms raised the most concerns. Jeff Wilbur, the OTA’s technical director, said that sixteen candidates failed in privacy due to language in the privacy statement that meant they could share data with anyone they want and not put any restrictions on them.

Researchers categorized the three evaluating criteria as follows:

1. Privacy: A parameter regarding “data sharing, retention, notice, and third-party restriction policies in the privacy statement, as well as scrutiny of third-party tracking on the website.”

2. Consumer protection: It is about how well-protected campaign emails were via authentication and encryption between servers, as well as domain protection from hackers.

3. Website security: It talks about how secure servers for the campaign platforms were, type of encryption used, website protections, and overall vulnerability.