The Republican National Convention, which kicked off on Monday (July 18), is likely to be as unusual as the election season has been so far. But one thing that’s true of this convention — and the ones in the past — is the likelihood that hackers will try to attack the RNC’s systems.
Max Everett, chief information officer for the RNC, told TechCrunch he doesn’t think there will be a rise in the number of cyberattacks during the convention because of Trump’s sometimes-polarizing behavior, but he did say denial-of-service attacks are a top concern. Those attacks try to overwhelm the servers of a business or institution with a ton of traffic that slows it or, worse, brings it down.
Everett said that the RNC servers don’t have a lot of sensitive information worth stealing, but slowing or bringing down the site would be a big disruption. Everett, who was behind the cybersecurity for the 2012 and 2008 Republican National Conventions, said the level of threats isn’t higher than those previous conventions.
When it comes to protecting the convention from hackers and bad guys, Everett said it’s different than doing it for a business. Because the convention is a short-term event, there’s little worth stealing. The biggest headaches and challenges come from enabling all of the disparate devices to connect to the convention's networks, from cameras to laptops and mobile phones. To help the RNC with its cybersecurity, Everett said it turned to ForeScout, which provides network monitoring and protection.
“When you have this sort of temporary organization, you naturally think about all the guest devices connecting,” said Katherine Gronberg, vice president of government affairs at ForeScout, in the report. “Our product can see that IoT and can classify it. It determines the owner, the user, the operating system, how the device is configured, whether it’s been patched. It can also see the presence of security tools and malware.”