Cyber Security of the 2020 Presidential Election

August 20, 2019

In this upcoming presidential election, cyber security is sure to be a hot topic — but, as it turns out, a surprising number of politicians vying for the Oval Office aren’t themselves familiar with one of the most basic email privacy features.

 A recent report by Agari confirmed the troubling reality that barely any of presidential hopefuls are using domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance policy, or DMARC. This security feature automatically verifies the sender’s email address — and, if it can’t, it marks the message as potentially dangerous for the recipient. Here at private email, we use both DMARC and DomainKeys Identified Mail to ensure our users have the highest level of confidence that they’re safe and secure when using email.

 However, that is not yet a commitment that leading politicians share. According to Agari, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is the only of a dozen people pursuing the top post whom it could confirm uses DMARC. The list of those not yet on board with the security feature includes incumbent President Donald Trump and front-runners like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

 When it comes to the 2020 presidential election, cyber security should be top of mind for all of the candidates — especially considering how central it was to the 2016 campaign, during which Russian hackers are said to have breached the emails of Hillary Clinton, who was already embroiled in her own scandal regarding email privacy. Thankfully, DMARC has seen a surge in adoption by federal agencies, with more than 80 percent of them rolling out the feature in recent years, a move that Sen. Ron Wyden acknowledged was a “no-brainer that increases cyber security without sacrificing liberty.”

 If candidates don’t soon tighten up their security and start incorporating DMARC into their email systems, they risk falling prey to scammers and phishers, who could seek to use the candidates’ name recognition to steal personal information from everyday Americans — a serious black eye for anyone seeking to hold the highest office in the country. In the presidential election, cyber security is important regardless of party lines.

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