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Venafi Research: Do Government Officials Need Cyber Security Training?

Venafi Research: Do Government Officials Need Cyber Security Training?

Black Hat Encryption Backdoor Government
November 14, 2018 | Eva Hanscom

It often seems like IT professionals and government officials are not on the same page when it comes to cyber security. One reason for this disconnect may be the continuous battle over encryption backdoors.

For example, the FBI has repeatedly claimed that encryption is a ‘major public safety issue’ because law enforcement officials are frequently locked out of devices connected to criminal activities. However, recent reports have revealed that the number of lock outs was greatly exaggerated.

Venafi recently polled over 500 IT security professionals to examine their views on the cyber security literacy of government officials. The survey was conducted August 4-9, 2018, at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. According to the results, there is more work that needs to be done.

One of the key findings was that 88% of respondents believe all government officials should be required to complete a basic cyber security training course. In addition, 66% believe governments should not be able to force technology companies to grant them access to encrypted user data.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) believe government-mandated encryption backdoors weaken the security of election data.
  • Only a third (33%) believe government officials understand the cyber risks targeting physical infrastructure.
  • Only 37% percent believe government officials understand the cyber risks targeting digital infrastructure.

“Over the last several months, we’ve seen government officials from across the globe propose dangerous surveillance laws and protocols,” says Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi. “For example, the Five Eyes international alliance has been consistently pushing for mandated encryption backdoors into private technology devices. They don’t seem to realize that the same encryption technology that creates barriers for law enforcement is also used to protect all types of classified intelligence and other highly sensitive government data. A backdoor sounds great until a malicious actor gets the key, which they always do.”

Are your government officials well informed?

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About the author

Eva Hanscom
Eva Hanscom

Eva Hanscom writes for Venafi's blog and is an expert in machine identity protection.

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