Donald Trump is silent on cybersecurity

A call out to Donald Trump on cybersecurity, where do you stand?

donald trump

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Keene, New Hampshire September 30, 2015.

Credit: REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl

We’ve been covering the Republican candidates and where they stand on cybersecurity - beginning with Jeb Bush two weeks ago, and Carly Fiorina last week.

This week we report on Donald Trump - except there’s nothing to report. Literally. That is because Trump has been silent on the topic. One might speculate that he doesn’t want to look bad by speaking on a topic he knows very little about. Or perhaps he worries that getting on topic might draw attention to all of the hacks on his Trump brand businesses - which are well known in tech circles, but not so much by the rest of the American public.

Last week in Forbes, John McAfee - the cybersecurity legend and expert, and now ‘Cyber Party’ presidential candidate - summed up Donald Trump’s cyber experience by referring to a Trump statement in which he said that he had never sent an email. That remark was in 2007, and as recently as 2013 Trump has stated that he rarely uses email. When McAfee was interviewed by FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren, he kidded about Trump’s hair. Maybe if McAfee pokes the bear again, we might hear something on cybersecurity come out of Trump. But for now, mums the word.

[ ALSO ON CSO: McAfee plans to be elected president in a landslide on the backs of 40 million tatooed voters ]

In a story from CNN Politics, Trump called Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server at the State Department "a criminal problem”. If Trump is reading this, then maybe we can move him on topic around cybercrime.

The British insurance company Lloyd’s estimates that cyber attacks cost businesses as much as $400 billion a year, which includes direct damage plus post-attack disruption to the normal course of business. Some vendor and media forecasts put the cybercrime figure as high as $500 billion and more. Cybercrime is the driver behind a cybersecurity market that is worth around $77 billion in 2015, and forecasted to reach $170 billion by 2020.

You would think that a money man like Trump can chime in on the business side of cyber, if nothing else. Perhaps he can offer up an idea of how much it is costing our government to investigate Hillary Clinton’s cyber mail fiasco.

Cybersecurity ties in to our national security and the safety of our citizens. It is a very serious issue, and one that every candidate should address head-on. Bush says the FBI needs more resources to fight back against the onslaught of cybercrime. Fiorina says that cybersecurity has to be a central part of any homeland security strategy, and that the U.S. government needs to centralize all its cybersecurity operations. They both have a lot more to say. So, come on Donald Trump - tell us where you stand on cyber. If you haven’t heard, there’s a cyber-war going on out there.

Next week: Marco Rubio on cybersecurity.

(The author does not endorse any one candidate or political party in this article.)

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