U.S. Presidential Elections: What Email Leaks Point to?
July 25, 2016 | Hacktivists, Privileged Accounts, Data Leaks, Vulnerable Access
A spate of email leaks during a run-up to the US Presidential elections has left Democrats hiding for a cover; but it also shows how critical information is always vulnerable to hacking.
As the U.S. presidential election campaigning heats-up with the grand-old-party (GOP) nominating Mr. Donald Trump as its candidate and Mrs. Hilary Clinton almost certain to get a nod from the Democrats, the world stay engrossed over who would be the next leader to take over the reins of the Whitehouse from Mr. Obama.
Arguments, counter-arguments, and hostile attacks fail to cease as both leaders look to score points over each other. The world, meanwhile, stay on the edge about how the new administration would be positioning itself for key issues such as the immigration policy, World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, Trans Pacific Partnership ratification (TPP), and other geo-political issues.
But while both the GOP and Rep nominees fight it out, delving deep into each other’s past contradicting remarks, and posturing on important issues, one area, which kept both camps unnerved all this while has been possible attacks on computer networks.
As previous U.S. presidential campaigns showed, hackers, ‘hacktivists’, and rogue state-sponsored elements are always equipped to barge into information systems, and hurting election campaigns.
Earlier this year, James Clapper, Director of the U.S. National Intelligence, warned that the presidential campaigns were vulnerable to espionage and hacking from malefactors and cybercriminals, hell-bent on hurting the campaigns.
That fear did not take long to materialize. Last month, Democratic National Committee (DNC) got rocked by a hacking incident. The committee reported that hackers gained access to email systems of the Republican Party, leaking more than 20,000 emails with an aim to embarrass Mrs. Clinton. These emails were gradually made available on WikiLeaks. The committee believes that hackers intentionally leaked emails to help her political foe, Mr. Trump.
Likewise, Mr. Trump’s confidential information such as social security number, credit card details, including his hotel properties apparently got breached by a hacktivist group named, ‘Anonymous’.
These incidents emphasize that information systems, especially highly critical info, remain extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers’ goal: be it to derail the election campaigning or steal sensitive data-- are always nefarious. It hurts us badly. A firewalled information network is not enough anymore to keep cyber criminals at bay.
Today, businesses and other organizations suffer a high number of attacks on confidential data, which are managed by privileged accounts. But shockingly several organizations still keep a lax attitude towards securing these accounts. No surprising, number of data-breach incidents have increased manifold over the years. Perhaps, these high-profile cyber assaults will make people understand the seriousness of the issue.
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