Will the 2016 US presidential campaign get hacked?

As the 2016 presidential race heats up, Wakefield Research examined American perceptions of the threat of political hacking, and which of the leading U.S. presidential candidates are most qualified to protect our nation from a growing onslaught of cybercrime. According to the survey, 64 percent of registered U.S. voters believe it is likely that a 2016 presidential campaign will be hacked.

“Due to the onslaught of breaches we are seeing every day, which stretch to the highest levels of the U.S. government, it’s hardly surprising that a majority of Americans believe that a presidential campaign will fall victim to hacking,” says V. Miller Newton, CEO and President of PKWARE. “Behind every candidate there are legions of operatives, allies and adversaries sharing sensitive information. Whether foreign entities or campaign operatives and lone wolves based in the U.S., presidential campaigns offer unique staging grounds for what could be highly disruptive attacks.”

Despite Hillary Clinton’s private email controversy, 42 percent of registered voters think she is the presidential candidate most qualified to protect the United States from cyber-attacks. She is followed by Donald Trump (24 percent), Scott Walker (18 percent) and Jeb Bush (15 percent).

Additional key findings of the survey include:

Red-blue split: Registered voters are predictably very evenly split on which political party has the best policy solutions for protecting personal information, with 38 percent saying Democrats and 36 percent saying Republicans. Yet, the majority of registered millennials (56 percent) think Democrats have the best policy solutions.

Millennials trending: Hillary Clinton also emerged as the leader on cybersecurity issues among the millennial generation. Within this influential demographic, 47 percent of registered millennials believe Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate most qualified to protect the U.S. from cyber-attacks.

Sacrificing privacy: In the wake of the ongoing debate over safety versus privacy, 56 percent of registered voters would be willing to allow the government to search their email, internet browser history, phone calls and text messages if it meant protecting the U.S. from a terrorist attack.

Superpower hackers: When it comes to cyber warfare, 51 percent of U.S. voters believe China to be the country with the best hackers, followed by the United States (30 percent), Russia (13 percent) and North Korea (7 percent).

Debate points: American cybersecurity is a serious issue worth debating. Improved defense against hackers (34 percent) tops the list of cybersecurity issues voters would most like to see the presidential candidates debate, followed by an identity protection plan for Americans (26 percent) and collaboration with private business on safeguarding the internet (22 percent).

Encryption… what?: In terms of personal cybersecurity, the majority of Americans voters are not taking advantage of available security tools that can best protect sensitive personal data. Only 47 percent of voters use encryption to protect their personal data, and 23 percent did not understand the meaning behind the word encryption.

Data worries: Social security numbers (56 percent) represent the personal data that registered voters worry most about, followed by bank information (33 percent) and internet browsing history (7 percent).

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