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Will Encryption Backdoors Hurt Election Infrastructure? Security Professionals Say Yes.

Will Encryption Backdoors Hurt Election Infrastructure? Security Professionals Say Yes.

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August 20, 2019 | Eva Hanscom


When it comes to the value of encryption backdoors, government and security officials tend to be at odds. Many government and law enforcement officials across the world either believe that the risks encryption backdoors bring are a worthy effort if they can be used to catch malicious actors or think that there is a technical solution that can mitigate these risks.


But that is not the case for most information security professionals, who tend to overwhelmingly disagree with these beliefs. One of the concerns of encryption backdoors is how they may impact election infrastructure.

"Security professionals overwhelmingly disagree with encryption backdoors"

“Last month, the U.S. 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.”


Above: Kevin Bocek, Vice President of Security Strategy & Threat Intelligence at Venafi

How valuable are machine identities on the dark web? See the report.


At Black Hat USA 2019, Venafi evaluated the opinions of over 380 convention attendees on the impact of government mandated encryption backdoors. According to the survey results, 80% of the respondents say countries with government-mandated encryption backdoors are more vulnerable to cyberattacks targeting their election infrastructure.


Additional findings from the survey include


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


"84 percent would never use a device from a company with a backdoor"



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


Are you concerned encryption backdoors will weaken election infrastructure?


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About the author

Eva Hanscom
Eva Hanscom

Eva is Public Relations Manager at Venafi. She is passionate about educating the global marketplace about infosec and machine-identity issues, and in 2018 grew Venafi's global coverage by 45%.

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