Campaigns for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination may not be doing enough to boost their cybersecurity efforts, even though they insist they have the issue covered, according to former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who serves with other high-ranking former security experts on a new board that provides free protection for candidates.
“There is not a lot of initial thought given to cybersecurity,” Morell told The Hill, adding that he worries there is a “void” and campaigns need outside help to address the issue fully.
Morell is on the board of the U.S. CyberDome group, a non-profit organization aiming to provide free protections to the campaign. Former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson chairs the board, and others involved include former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, former Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper, and Brig. Gen. Francis Taylor, the former DHS undersecretary of intelligence and analysis.
Morell said the group hopes to fill gaps campaigns face in cybersecurity, as many involved are not thinking about how to protect themselves.
Some of the campaigns say they have made the issue a priority.
Chris Meagher, the spokesperson for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, said a full-time chief information security officer was hired last week, and a spokesperson for Beto O’Rourke’s campaign said the campaign has engaged a “comprehensive approach” to manage attacks.
Other campaigns, though, did not provide information about their cybersecurity efforts, with a spokesperson for Sen. Bernie Sanders noting the campaign would not comment on matters of security.
However, cybersecurity was a serious issue in the 2016 and 2018 elections, including the hacking of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
CNN has reported that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed the 2020 campaigns, but Morell told The Hill that the government can’t provide security services.