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Is Cybersecurity a Big Concern for the 2016 Presidential Election?

With the Republican debate last night still fresh in our minds and the first Democratic debate on October 13th, should we be worried about the presidential election getting hacked? Cybersecurity is a hot topic; with the OPM (Office of Personnel Management) cyber attack still fresh in everyone’s mind, who can say that voting in the election is 100% safe from hackers?

Could it happen? Could a cyber attack manipulate our votes? Can cyber attacks hack voting machines? After all, we are hearing about hacks affecting cars, baby monitors and smart TVs, among other products.

According to results of a poll by Wakefield Research, there is concern that hackers will attack the upcoming presidential election. While there is concern that voting can be affected by a cyber attack, the thought is it is more probable that candidates’ campaign websites would be targeted. Despite the poll’s limited sample size, it does shed light on certain concerns. Read the poll here.

Here are some highlights of the poll:

  • 38% said Democrats and 36% said Republicans when asked which political party has the best policy solutions for protecting personal information.
  • 56% of registered millennials think Democrats have the best policy solutions.
  • 47% of registered millennials believe Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate most qualified to protect the U.S. from cyber-attacks.
  • 56% of registered voters would be willing to sacrifice privacy when it comes to searching email, internet browser history, phone calls and text messages if it meant protecting the U.S. from a terrorist attack.
  • When it comes to cyber warfare, those polled felt the following countries have the best hackers – China 51%, United States 30%, Russia 13%, and North Korea 7%.
  • 34% of those polled want to see improved defense against hackers.
  • 26% of those polled want to see an identity protection plan for Americans.
  • 22% of those polled want to see collaboration with private business on safeguarding the internet.
  • Just 47% of the voters polled use encryption to protect their personal data.
  • 23% do not understand the meaning and value of encryption.
  • 56% of registered voters worry most about losing their social security number.
  • 33% of registered voters worry about losing bank information.
  • 7% of registered voters worry about their internet browsing history being discovered.

Regardless, the subject of cybersecurity should be a priority for the candidates this election season. The impacts of cyber attacks go well beyond the damage it does to individual companies. Moreover, cybercrime affects the economy globally and will definitively impact the job of the next resident of the White House.

Additionally, here are some resources related to the subject:

64 Percent of American Voters Predict a 2016 Presidential Campaign Will Be Hacked

Voters concerned a cyber attack could impact the 2016 presidential election

Let’s School the Presidential Hopefuls on Cybersecurity

Five predictions for cybersecurity’s role in the 2016 presidential race

Hack the vote: Cyber experts say ballot machines easy targets