The Democratic National Committee’s head of cybersecurity is warning presidential primary candidates that the best time for hackers to target their campaigns is right now – in the early days of the cycle.
“The best time to attack is before a (candidate’s campaign) has their sea legs, before they’ve put a security plan in place,” Bob Lord, the DNC’s chief security officer, told CNN.
Lord also warned that those who have not yet announced they are running are also at risk.
“The trick is the adversaries are already at work, whether a candidate has announced or not. They know the list of plausible candidates; so does everybody else,” he said.
Lord said the DNC is available to support all Democratic candidates. A former Silicon Valley executive, Lord was hired by the DNC last year in an attempt to improve the Democrats’ cybersecurity, after the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff were hacked in 2016.
The DNC provided CNN with a copy of a “Device and Account Security Checklist” that it is encouraging presidential campaigns to follow.
The checklists include instructions on encrypting a computer hard drive.
“The message we are sending out is that we are here to help and that we are here to assist them in the creation of an overall security program that is tailored to their current landscape and interest and challenges,” Lord added.
Lord, who formerly held security roles at Twitter and Yahoo, is one of a number of hires the DNC made from Silicon Valley in light of the hacking of the party in 2016.
Hacking isn’t only a problem for Democrats.
In December, it emerged that the National Republican Congressional Committee had been hacked during the 2018 midterm election cycle. Ian Prior, a spokesman for the committee, told CNN at the time, “The cybersecurity of the committee’s data is paramount.”