DNC unveils new security checklist to protect campaigns from cyberattacks

DNC unveils new security checklist to protect campaigns from cyberattacks

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday unveiled an updated security checklist aimed at helping campaigns protect themselves from cyberattacks.

The list — the second version released by the DNC in recent months — calls for staff to keep their devices up to date to prevent hackers from exploiting any exposed vulnerabilities.

It also calls for staffers to have long, random and unique passwords for their accounts and to use password managers to track those passwords.

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Staffers are also encouraged to have multifactor authentication set up for their accounts, which requires users to confirm their identities before being able to access their data.

Bob Lord, the DNC’s chief security officer, said these basic steps will help protect the campaigns — and their staffers — from falling victim to cyberattacks.

“Our adversaries are already at work, whether a candidate has announced or not,” Lord said in a statement.

“At the DNC, we’ve put together a checklist of steps we are encouraging everyone to take — from presidential candidates down to field staff and volunteers — that will dramatically improve their security posture. We are also here to assist campaigns in the creation of an overall security program that is tailored to their current landscape and challenges," he continued.  

This new version of the checklist comes as political groups gear up for the 2020 presidential election amid concerns they could face cyberattacks from U.S. adversaries.

Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats11 Essential reads you missed this week Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Hillicon Valley: Deepfakes pose 2020 test for media | States beg Congress for more election security funds | Experts worry campaigns falling short on cybersecurity | Trump officials urge reauthorization of NSA surveillance program MORE said late last year that there had been no breach of voting systems during the 2018 midterm elections, a conclusion backed up by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security earlier this month.

But officials and experts alike have pointed to the 2020 race as being a more high-profile target for hackers.

Concerns over cyberattacks have been a priority for political groups in recent years, particularly after the 2016 hack of the DNC that resulted in the release of sensitive emails ahead of that year's presidential election.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE last year indicted 12 Russian military officers in the DNC hack.

The DNC also said in a court filing earlier this year that it believes it was targeted by Russian hackers shortly after the midterms. And the National Republican Congressional Committee was the victim of a cyber breach last year.

Christopher Krebs, the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, testified before a House panel earlier this month that election security is a priority for his agency.

He said at the time that DHS will look at ways to keep campaigns and political groups like the DNC secure from cyber threats ahead of the 2020 elections.