What does a Trump presidency mean for cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity played a major role in this year’s election cycle. For the first time in American history, data breaches, email servers and encryption directly influenced who won election to the nation’s highest office. Regardless of which candidate you supported, cybersecurity proved itself to be the ultimate victor this political cycle.
President-elect Trump is preparing for the Oval Office in January. How can the security industry prepare? He released a bulleted list of priorities during the campaign, but beyond that, below are some areas that are sorely in need of attention.
Strengthening private/public sector cooperation
Digital attacks against the United States do not simply focus on our defense infrastructure – they also strike our public infrastructure, and private industry. Our cyber strategy must therefore fold in both public, private, and government entities so that we can all protect America together. President-elect Trump’s plan to create a Cyber Review Team tasked with assessing US cyber defenses, and a Joint Task Force for responding to cyber threats has the potential to do this.
The cybersecurity industry has openly sought a deeper, reciprocal relationship with the public sector to prevent and mitigate cyberthreats for years. The security community is eager to open new partnerships, information-sharing initiatives, and the opportunity to build cutting-edge technology to help protect our nation’s digital assets and infrastructure.
President-elect Trump’s challenge will be attracting leaders from the private sector to buy into his vision for the future. He will need to use his powers of persuasion and find compromises to convince the most influential technology leaders to come together and rally around the same goal: the (digital) safety and security of the American people.
Balancing cyber regulations for businesses and consumers
Non-state cyber actors have proven to be a major threat to US interests. President-elect Trump cites major breaches in the last three years that targeted millions of credit card numbers and medical records, all conducted by non-state actors.
Beyond nation-state actors, President-elect Trump will need to navigate his call for less private-sector regulation with the need to address increased threats from non-state actors against U.S corporations.
Stopping cyber foreign influence
During the campaign, Secretary Clinton avoided answering questions about her private email server, and malicious hacks against it. Whether or not foreign hacks of the system actually took place, they are an example into how technology can become a vehicle for statecraft and foreign affairs.
Globalization of the media and information allow anyone to influence events around the globe, ranging from manipulating social media websites to carrying out large-scale DDoS attacks or infecting voting machines. Most troubling of all, attacks don’t have produce or steal anything to be successful – merely planting a seed of doubt in our elections can be enough.
President-elect Trump’s challenge will be to restore the American people’s confidence in our digital systems, from civil infrastructure to the e-mail our civil servants use. And to effectively achieve that he will need to foster private/public cooperation, and balance regulations to ensure the private sector is free to innovate and grow. Because like it or not, computers are going to play a major role in Making America Great Again.