Could a DNC Data Leak Alter a Presidential Campaign?

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This blog post was written by Teresa Chen.

If you’re a political junky, there’s no lack of intriguing stories and scandals to accompany this election season’s spicy rhetoric. Now, we’ve got the Democratic National Committee (DNC) admitting that more than 19,000 emails were hacked by bad actors and released by WikiLeaks—on the eve of the party’s national convention. * The impact of this revelation remains to be fully realized, but you can’t dismiss that this story might just shape the dialog surrounding the convention and beyond. And on a PR-nightmare scale, it’s right up there with having propriety info leaked prior to a billion-dollar new product release.

All Your Data Is Critical

This latest highly publicized incident further emphasizes what the security software industry has been preaching for more than a decade. All organizations—public and private—must prepare for hacktivist attacks in the same way they prepare for cybercrime, cyber-espionage, or cyber-warfare attacks. Ultimately, it’s about protecting the most valuable (or potentially damaging) information your organization possesses.

Just Like the DNC, Your Data Will Be Breached.
Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you’ll be hacked. That’s why it’s so important to assess all your data loss prevention tools to keep outbound information secure. Any information that could influence your organizations reputation, operations, or perceived value – especially in the form of email communications must be protected with the same priority that you protect everything else—financial data, contracts, business plans, and intellectual property.

Inspect Outgoing Data, Get Smart About Files and Encryption
Most organizations put an emphasis on inbound protections such as intrusion prevention system (IPS), anti-malware solutions, and firewall technology. Fewer understand the importance of outbound data protection. Data loss prevention (DLP) and encryption technologies are your last inline defenses. If and when someone with malicious intent breaches your system, a DLP solution thoroughly examines all your outbound network traffic—email, FTP sites, and web posts—so that sensitive information DOES NOT leave your organization and appropriate parties can be automatically notified

For further protection, consider encrypting sensitive information during creation and transition. So even if someone were to gain access to that information, they can’t read or decrypt it. It’s a solid idea to apply this strategy to the kind of files thieves and hackers like best—Microsoft Office, .txt, .csv, and .pdf files (in that order). **

McAfee Is Here to Help

Any threat to data is a big deal—it’s just that this particular breach unfolded on really big stage. Fortunately, McAfee solutions aren’t afraid of the spotlight. Several of our McAfee® security products (McAfee DLP, Encryption and Web Gateway solutions) are designed specifically effectively secure data. Learn more: http://www.mcafee.com/safeguarddata

*Source: DataBreachtoday.com, 7/25/2016
**Source: McAfee 2015 Grand Theft Data

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