Democratic 2020 presidential campaigns say they are working to intensify their cybersecurity, but experts are concerned that those efforts may not be enough.
Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell said that he worries there is a “void” and that campaigns need outside help to fully address the issue.
“There is not a lot of initial thought given to cybersecurity,” Morell said about the campaigns. Even though several campaigns insist they have prioritized the issue.
Chris Meagher, the spokesperson for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, said that “our campaign is committed to digital security,” noting the hiring of a full-time chief information security officer (CISO), Mick Bacchio, last week.
“Hiring a full-time CISO is one way we are protecting against cyber attacks,” Meagher added.
A spokesperson for the presidential campaign of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said that they are “actively engaged in defending our operation from disinformation and other cyber attacks.”
But many campaigns have said little on their cyber efforts. A spokesperson for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) revealed that the campaign “does not comment on matters of security.”
Repeated cyber incidents in both 2016 and 2018 have put a spotlight on the issue and raised worries about a repeat in the upcoming presidential election.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a leading voice on election security issues, introduced legislation in May aimed at securing campaigns.
“The 2016 election made it painfully clear that campaigns need more help defending against sophisticated cyber threats,” Wyden said in a statement when he introduced the bill. “Foreign hackers successfully weaponized hacked emails to drive media coverage in 2016, but the government has done virtually nothing to protect campaigns from future attacks.”
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