It’s been a rough couple of months for the Democratic Party. Despite the star power and critical acclaim of the Democratic National Convention, as well as Hillary Clinton taking a comfortable lead over Donald Trump in recent polls, America’s progressive ballot option has found itself embroiled in the aftermath of a series of cybersecurity attacks.
Hacker(s) Guccifer 2.0 claimed responsibility for the data breaches. The first was publicized on Wikileaks in June, when three document dumps from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers were made public, threatening Clinton’s reputation and credibility just as her campaign was gathering increased momentum.
The second attack, reported in late July, was a separate hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and included the personal cellphone numbers, emails and passwords of 200 former and current congressional Democrats also ending up on Wikileaks.
“It’s time for new revelations now,” said Guccifer 2.0, reports the New York Times. “All of you may have heard about the DCCC hack. As you see I wasn’t wasting my time! It was even easier than in the case of the DNC breach.”
For the Democrats, a time of celebration has devolved into controversy. Following the first data dump, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned after they revealed she had plotted to undermine the Bernie Sanders campaign. Since the second attack, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claims to have been flooded with “…scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voicemails and text messages,” reports CNN.
According to Bloomberg, cybersecurity experts are linking Guccifer 2.0 to Russian intelligence. Taking no chances, the DNC’s interim leader Donna Brazile has recently set up a cybersecurity panel to protect against future attacks. Why that wasn’t done after the first attack is anybody’s guess.
Given current American politics are high stakes juxtaposed against near-parodical rhetoric, it can be easy for individuals and small business owners to brush off hacks like these. Throw Bond villain-esque names like Guccifer 2.0, Wikileaks and Russian intelligence into the mix, and you’ve got a classic case of “something that happens to other people but not me.”
If only that were true.
Sure, the major attacks we all hear about are at recognizable organizations like infamous dating site Ashley Madison or Home Depot, but hackers are increasingly targeting smaller businesses. According to the Guardian, the 2015 Government Security Breaches Survey found that 74% of small organizations in the UK reported a security breach in the last year — an increase from the year before. In fact, hackers specifically prey on small businesses as many do not have the financial and human resources to properly protect their intellectual property and customer data.
According to Stephen Ridley, acting head of technology, cyber and data for insurance company Hiscox UK and Ireland, steps small business owners can take include using secure passwords such as three random words, installing antivirus and malware software on all corporate devices (including mobile), instigating regular software updates that contain essential security upgrades, and educating staff to be vigilant of cyber-risks.
Ultimately, you’ve got two options: either you can go with security or risk major embarrassment, potentially on a global scale. And no, we’re not talking about deciding whether to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump here.