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US elections should be decided by US citizens. But digital attacks have found US campaigns and elections vulnerable. In his RSA 2020 keynote in San Francisco last month, Admiral James Stavridis, PreVeil board member and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said, “my confidence is high that the Russians are going to intrude [in the 2020 US presidential election]… they will have a big impact in doing so.”
The Admiral’s bottom line on 2020 election cybersecurity: “We’ve got to up our game.”
Stavridis broke the threat down into two channels. There is strategic interference, which involves agents of foreign nation-states leveraging social media to promote the proliferation of fake news and political division. This fake news is designed to confuse the American public, magnify conflict and skew votes.
Then there is operational interference, said Stavridis, which targets the vulnerabilities of presidential campaigns. In 2016, the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, was hacked. Embarrassing emails from the presidential hopeful were widely distributed, undermining confidence in her and quite possibly costing her the presidency. Despite this, campaigns are still using insecure email communication systems like Gmail.
If candidates want to steer toward a fair election in 2020, Stavridis says they need to step up campaign security. This includes moving email communications to end to end encrypted platforms like PreVeil.
At PreVeil we are committed to supporting the integrity of the US political system. We stand by to support presidential candidates in defending their email exchanges from hackers or scammers of any stripe.
Whatever the arena, when stakes are high and outcomes matter, we believe in protecting the security and integrity of communications.