The next American President needs to understand the world wide web and its threats

Ed Seaford

The US economy loses around $100 billion from cyber-crime each year, which represents almost 200,000 lost jobs and is almost half of the total loss for the G-8 group of Western countries.

Over the years, we have seen major US brands suffer a range of attacks, including DNS hijacking, personal data breaches, server breaches and a growing trend of hacking social media accounts.

Recently, we saw the Democratic Party and Clinton Foundation hacked (again) by Guccifer 2.0, the National Security Agency had one of its sophisticated cyber weapons stolen and put up for auction, and the FBI warned that the Board of Elections in two separate states had been targeted by possible foreign hackers.

Since just 2013, hundreds of millions of Americans have been affected by what FBI considers the top 10 (company) hacks in the US. Personal data including back account information, credit card details, address information and even social security numbers have been compromised.

We have included the FBI’s top-ranked cyber-attacks at the bottom of this article.


The presidential race

Cyber-crime has been a source of great controversy for Hillary Clinton, who has faced fierce heat about cyber-security – specifically, using her personal server to send top secret communications.

The FBI investigation revealed that The State Department had extremely poor procedures for protecting its computer network and classified information while Hillary was Secretary of State.

She released a statement on cyber-security that she “will leverage the work of the public and private sectors − overcoming the mistrust that impedes cooperation today − to strengthen security and build resiliency for economy and infrastructure.”

Donald Trump has largely been silent, with many pundits criticizing his lack of knowledge on the issue. He even acknowledged his ignorance, stating: “We will have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening.”

In the first presidential debate, Lester Holt questioned the candidates about cyber-security strategy: “We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyber-attack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is, who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?”

Too busy exchanging barbs, neither party managed outline a comprehensible strategy to deal with cyber-attacks in America. Clinton alluded to hitting back at China, Iran and Russia to protect “our information, our private-sector information or our public-sector information.”

Trump? Well, it’s hard to say what his plan is: “So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is − it is a huge problem… The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”

Some of America’s most well-known brands (i.e NY Times)have been brought to their knees by bad actors such as the Syrian Electronic army who have taken over their DNS setting and redirected traffic to their ISIS propaganda page.

Will a new President bring change?

Based on the verbiage coming from the Clinton and Trump camps, it’s doubtful either will quickly implement a national program to address cyber-terrorism and threats.

This will mean that brands across America will need to continue to stay vigilant and leverage expert partners to ensure they don’t get added to the FBI’s list of America’s largest hacks.

Domain names, DNS and SSL are all gateways; often it’s these seemingly obscure functions that, when hacked or compromised, lead to massive breaches.

CSC provides complimentary domain name, DNS and SSL certificate assessments and security audits for companies across the globe. If you’re concerned about the cyber-security of your brand, contact us on (Phone) for more information.


FBI’s top hacks of all time

Primera Blue Cross, March 2015. A national health insurer that had up to 11 million customers affected by a cyber-attack. It took almost eight months to realize it had been hacked, which could have exposed members’ personal details, including social security numbers.

Anthem, February 2015. One of America’s largest health insurers said that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a “very sophisticated external cyber-attack.”

Sony Pictures, November 2014. A huge attack that essentially wiped clean several internal data centers and led to cancellation of the theatrical release of ‘The Interview’. The attack also released many personal emails.

Staples, October 2014. Hackers compromised the company’s network and accessed the information of about 1.16 million credit cards.

Home Depot, April 2014. In an attack that ran from April through September 2014, 56 million payment cards were probably compromised.

JPMorgan Chase, July to August 2014. The computer networks of JPMorgan Chase were infiltrated in a series of coordinated attacks, and the account information of 83 million households and small businesses were compromised.

Community Health Systems, April to June 2014. The company said personal data − including names, birth dates, social security numbers and addresses − for 4.5 million patients had been compromised in a Chinese cyber-attack on its systems

Michaels Stores, April 2014. Michaels, an arts and crafts retailer, estimated that data from 3 million customers’ payment cards may have been stolen over several months.

- In one of the largest data breaches ever reported, hackers stole credit and debit card records from more than 40 million Target customers, as well as personal information such as email and mailing addresses from some 70 million people.