A long-standing inside joke in the security community is to tweet “drink” when the word “cybersecurity” is uttered by the President at the State of the Union Address or by candidates during a Presidential debate. During Monday’s televised debate between Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there were plenty of opportunities to imbibe (um, tweet).
The very first question about the nation’s security was about hacking. Debate moderator and NBC news anchorman Lester Holt posed the question to the candidates at the top of the third and final section of the debate, Securing America:
“We want to start with a twenty-first century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyberattack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is, who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?” Holt asked.
Both Clinton and Trump stressed the importance of cybersecurity for the next administration. “Well I think cybersecurity … cyberwarfare, will be one of the biggest challenges to the next President because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries,” nation-state actors and cybercriminals, Clinton said.
Clinton also called out Russia’s recent hacking activity. “There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyberattacks against all kinds of organizations in our country and I am deeply concerned about this.”
The US needs to “make it very clear” to nations who engage in cyberattacks against the US that “the US has much greater capacity and we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information: our private-sector information or our public sector information,” she said. “And we’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to use the kinds of tools that we have. We don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare. But we will defend the citizens of this country, and the Russians need to understand that.”
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