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An Open Letter to the 2016 Presidential Candidates

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December 8, 2015 / Ben Johnson

To the offices of:
Dr. Ben Carson
Sen. Hillary Clinton
Sen. Ted Cruz
Mr. Martin O’ Malley
Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Mr. Donald Trump

(To view a printable version of the letter, sent via mail to the candidates, click here)

Leading Candidates for the Office of President of the United States:

I am sending this letter on behalf of all cyber-security professionals. Election Day 2016 is less than a year away. One of you likely will be elected to lead our nation through the most trying period in cyber-security history. Despite this, cyber-security has been—at best—a secondary issue in your campaigns. There has been virtually no meaningful discussion about cyber security in the debates to date. You have the opportunity to change that during next week’s debates.

The cyber-security threat is all too real. During the past year, we’ve seen controversial cyber-security legislation (CISA), which—privacy issues aside—we believe will be ineffective; rocky cyber relations with China, Russia and Syria; massive data breaches against major U.S. businesses, affecting millions of Americans; and a headline-making breach against a U.S. government agency. Yet your campaigns have failed to specifically address this cyber-security crisis with anything more than just political rhetoric.

In the physical world, America takes security very seriously. Your campaigns are clear on the need to secure our borders, defend our allies abroad, and maintain the utmost vigilance when it comes to preventing attacks on American soil. What about cyber attacks? Are we waiting for a “cyber 9/11” before we take this issue seriously?

In this moment, American businesses and the government are being attacked by motivated enemies. These enemies care nothing about party affiliation. They simply want to see Americans suffer—Democrats and Republicans alike.

The tragedy in Paris has painfully demonstrated that physical attacks and violence are rarely without a cyber component. The increased awareness around the need to properly collect intelligence and monitor new types of technology is a positive start for cyber security, but most of the discussions have simply been around encryption and the government’s desire to install backdoors—something that could be abused and actually weaken our nation. Furthermore, this topic does little to address cyber defense and the fact that attacks are taking place without much of a physical-world component. We must do better.

Today, I join the hundreds of thousands of cyber-security professionals and millions of Americans in making a clarion call to request a metaphorical seat on your campaign buses. The well-being and safety of our nation and its people hinge on how you answer this call for an open dialogue about America’s cyber-security future.

You have a little more than 300 days to make the American people aware of this real, tangible issue. Whoever wins the White House next November will need to acknowledge that we are on the precipice of losing the cyber war. Preventing this cataclysm requires immediate, decisive action. Please start now by making an open dialogue with our country’s cyber-security professionals and the American people a centerpiece of your campaigns for the White House.



Ben Johnson

Chief Security Strategist

Bit9 + Carbon Black

TAGS: Ben Johnson / bit9 / candidates / Carbon Black / Election Day / Open Letter / POTUS / United States