The Democratic National Committee wants to significantly expand and improve its cybersecurity program in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, and its top security officials are considering everything from simulated cyberattacks on the Democratic ecosystem to enhanced training for DNC staffers who want to work with the party’s outside vendors and sister committees. “The question is, how are we going to take what we did and supersize it?” DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord told Eric for a story out today. Lord produced a short cybersecurity checklist for midterm campaigns, and he recently met with former campaign staffers to gather feedback about improving it. The midterms didn’t see massive cyberattacks like the 2016 campaign, which meant that many of the DNC’s procedures weren’t tested. But DNC Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian did notice one problem on Election Day: too many people jumping in whenever they saw suspicious cyber activity. “We were all trying to swarm around the soccer ball [and] being like, ‘I can help with that, too!’” said Krikorian. The need to clarify roles and responsibilities is one reason why Krikorian wants to convene tabletop exercises before 2020. Simulations are “definitely not something we did in preparation for this cycle,” he said, “but that would be a clear opportunity moving forward.”
From improving Lord’s checklist to planning these simulations, cybersecurity preparations for 2020 are already well underway at the DNC. Committee staffers recently met with cybersecurity experts from Democratic campaigns during an event at Microsoft’s D.C. office. Those discussions will help guide Krikorian and Lord as they refine the DNC’s security work. “When you build a technical system, first you’ve got to get all the humans working correctly,” Krikorian said, “and then you build tech stuff on top of it to automate it and make it move faster.” Pros can read Eric’s story here.
Politico scored the scoop Tuesday about the National Republican Congressional Committee getting hacked in the spring. You’ll recall President Donald Trump said the DNC “should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked” in 2016, even though the Republican National Committee also had been hacked at one point.
Senior House Republicans — including Speaker Paul Ryan — were not informed of the hack. Rank-and-file House Republicans were not told, either. Rep. Steve Stivers, who was NRCC chairman this past election cycle, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.