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Trump, GOP Convention Likely Target For ‘Elite, Dangerous’ Cyberattackers

Hacking 0914

This month’s GOP Convention, already expected to be volatile with Donald Trump’s presumed nomination, could also be a target for a major cyberattack.

Stealthcare's Jeremy SemideThat’s according to Stealthcare CEO Jeremy Samide and Global Velocity CEO Greg Sullivan. The convention kicks off July18 in Cleveland. Based in The Forest City, Stealthcare collects intelligence through machine learning, human analytics and tradecraft.

The attack probably won’t come from “hacktivists who are indignant over Donald Trump’s confrontational manner and offensive positions,” Samide said. Evidence regarding the recent attack against the Democratic National Committee (DNC), that compromised donor lists and other information, points directly to state-sponsored hackers, he said.

“It makes sense for these hackers to hit the Republican National Committee right before or during its showcase event,” he said. “The ability of a hacktivist group to disrupt the Trump campaign is nothing compared to the havoc a state-sponsored cyberattack can wreak during the convention. However, I would not underestimate either group. They are both considered elite, extremely capable and dangerous.”{ad}

Global Velocity's Greg SullivanSullivan agrees that the convention is a likely target. Global Velocity develops information-centric security (ICS) services.

“First and foremost, any data that could be valuable to someone is likely to be stolen or someone is going to attempt to take it, and it sure seems like there will be a lot of valuable data there,” Sullivan told Channel Partners. “So I don’t see a reason why there wouldn’t likely be an attempt to steal it. I think whoever the keepers of the data are need to do obviously everything they can to protect the network the data resides on, and also pay attention to the data itself. That’s not always the first thing we do in the cybersecurity world.”

Samide said Ohio Auditor David Yost has alerted local and state agencies to the heightened risk of cyberattacks. The same holds true for businesses, he said.

“Considering the likelihood of continual, state-sponsored hacks, our political parties need to fortify their networks,” Samide said. “Attacks typically increase as political and international tensions rise as they are now. In this environment, both political parties have a duty to protect their networks and build effective cyberdefenses. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done.”

Effective cyberdefense means focusing as much on data as on attackers trying to enter a network, Sullivan said.

“Is data moving around in the network, is it leaving … do we know what data is there?” he said. “And finally, are we scouring the dark web to see if any of our data has been released into the wild? We should be paying as much attention to our data as attackers, and bring more balance to our cybersecurity strategy by doing so.”

Data replication, obfuscation, transformation and encryption are all potential signs of cyberattacks, Sullivan said.


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