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Tuesday, 27 August 2019 03:46

Government-mandated encryption backdoors weaken election infrastructure: Venafi survey Featured

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Government-mandated encryption backdoors weaken election infrastructure: Venafi survey Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Machine identity protection provider Venafi has found that a survey of government-mandated encryption backdoors show that 80% of the respondents say countries with government-mandated encryption backdoors are more vulnerable to cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure.

The survey evaluated the opinions of 384 IT security professionals attending Black Hat USA 2019 and also found that 74% of the respondents say countries with government-mandated encryption backdoors are more susceptible to nation-state attacks.

Additional findings included:

  • 72% believe laws that allow governments to access encrypted personal data will not make us safer from terrorists.
  • 70% believe countries with government-mandated encryption backdoors are at an economic disadvantage in the global marketplace.
  • 84% would never knowingly use a device or program from a company that agreed to install a backdoor.

“Last month, the US Senate Intelligence Committee reported that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia during the 2016 election,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi.

“We know that encryption backdoors dramatically increase security risks for every kind of sensitive data, and that includes all types of data that affects our national security.

“The IT security community overwhelmingly agrees that encryption backdoors would have a disastrous impact on the integrity of our elections and on our digital economy as a whole.”

And Bocek says that, “On a consumer level, people want technology that prioritises the security and privacy of their personal data”.

“This kind of trust is priceless. Encryption backdoors would not only make us much less safe at a national level, they also clearly have the potential to inflict significant economic and political damage,” Bocek added.

Venafi says that while many government and law enforcement officials across the world either believe that the risks encryption backdoors bring are worth it if they can be used to catch malicious actors - or think that there is a technical solution that can mitigate these risks - information security professionals “overwhelmingly disagree with these beliefs”.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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