10 cybersecurity questions Trump and Clinton should answer

The presidential candidates were too busy trading barbs in the debates rather than focusing on how to keep the cyber space safe.

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Cybersecurity getting little attention

This election has been more about style than substance, more about the candidates’ pasts than their plans, more personal attacks than policy proposals. Even the debates, where the moderators attempt to discuss issues in need of decisions and actions, have been more notable for the ferocity of attacks than the shrewdness of the strategies.

In an election where hackers have played a prominent role in revealing embarrassing information about Democratic leaders, to the point that the bad actors are suspected of trying to influence the election, there have been few questions about the candidates’ stances on the many cybersecurity issues.

Radware’s Vice President of Security Solutions Carl Herberger suggests some of the crucial cybersecurity questions the next President must consider.

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Is there an explicit or implied right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution?

State laws around data protection are the best we have in terms of legal privacy rights. That puts the U.S. on par with many countries that have no legal right to privacy. But the next President’s opinions could shape how this essential right is protected moving forward.

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What level of government eavesdropping is enough?

How much privacy should we fork over for the sake of security? There has to be an upper limit, and the candidates have not provided a clear opinion on where that is. Will the next President allow great intrusion into citizens’ lives?

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Is it possible for the government to collect too much information on its citizens and if so, what is that level?

If the government is collecting information about citizens, that data is a prime target for a number of attackers. When the inevitable data breach happens, how much will be revealed?

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Should the government be held responsible if it loses people’s identity or reveals secrets?

The government can often follow the bread crumbs back to the hackers and the nation states that sponsor them. It’s easy to point blame in that direction. It’s more difficult to acknowledge the shortcomings of the systems that cost someone their identity or secrets.

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How can we secure the U.S. from cyberattacks that could lower citizens’ standard of living or maybe even result in the loss of life?

If the next administration isn’t thinking about how to secure utilities and infrastructure, we’re in trouble. They’re already among the prime targets for terrorists and other groups, they’re vulnerable, and the aftermath of an attack would be highly disruptive.

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What should be done about securing self-driving cars from cyberattacks?

Ransomware’s next frontier is autonomous vehicles, a wild west with little government oversight. With many major car manufacturers promising driverless cars by 2020, the next President will have to take action to curb the public danger of hacked cars.

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Do cyberattacks represent the single biggest risk to the ongoing functioning of the U.S. government today?

They might cite partisan bickering or other risks, but it’s safe to say that the government can’t function like it used to after email leaks and other hacks by state actors and hacktivists have embarrassed multiple officials, causing some to step down from their positions. And while the breaches (that we know about) have been relatively small to date, it’s only a matter of time before a major attack hits.  

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Is more investment required in the private sector to increase cybersecurity?

While there are many ways to boost cybersecurity, everyone should agree that something should be done. Barely a week goes by without hearing about a new data dump of passwords and credentials, a ransomware attack that paralyzed a business, or a DDoS attack that crippled a website. And the attacks are only going to accelerate.

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How will the pace of technical change impact the U.S. economy? What role does education play in this space?

Technology makes our lives easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. But it also eliminates jobs, infringes on privacy, and creates more targets for hackers. We need leaders who not only understand the benefits of technology, but can protect us from the negatives.

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How will the IoT affect government services as everything becomes automated?

The IoT will offer opportunities to shift government roles in the coming years as technology offers more efficient and accurate paths to the same outcomes. But it’s only possible if the next administration looks toward the future through the lens of security.

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