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Where Jeb Bush stands on cybersecurity

Sep 23, 20154 mins
CyberattacksCybercrimeInternet Security

A look at what the Presidential candidates have to say about cybersecurity, starting with Jeb Bush.

After watching the recent televised Republican Presidential candidate debate, you may be wondering where the candidates stand on cybersecurity – which ties in to our nation’s defense.

The topic of cybersecurity may be too technical and thus too risky for the candidates to speak out on TV, or the moderators don’t want to devote time to it in place of what they consider to be more important issues.

To fill the void, we bring you a look at what the candidates are saying about cybersecurity.

We’ll start with Jeb Bush, who’s had a lot to say about it.

Here’s some key excerpts from a blog post last week by Jeb on his “Jeb! 2016” website.

On the importance of cyber: “for all of the Internet’s transformational power, its future rests in part on one critical factor—cybersecurity.”

Here’s a hard knock on the current President, to be expected from a Republican contender: “Unfortunately, a series of high-profile cybersecurity failures and the Obama administration’s feeble response to the growing threat have demonstrated real vulnerabilities in government and private systems, eroding public confidence in both the government and even the Internet itself.”

If Jeb doesn’t win the Presidency, he can become an IT analyst.. all of the figures he quotes here are attributed to Symantec – the world’s largest security software company: “Last year, 60% of all targeted attacks struck small and medium-sized organizations, which often have fewer resources to invest in cybersecurity.  In 2014, five out of every six large companies were targeted with spear-phishing attacks, a 40% increase over the previous year.  Attacks against small and medium-sized businesses increased 26% and 30%, respectively.”

About the OPM fiasco and what he thinks should have been done: “The intrusion into the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)— the human resources department of the U.S. Government—illustrates the cultural failure of the Obama administration to take these threats seriously.  The OPM systems contain millions of personnel records—many of which included an intrusive and sensitive personnel questionnaire.  OPM officials knew this data was valuable, sensitive, and vulnerable, but failed to take basic steps to protect it.”

Jeb on why Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted on security: “It should not be too much to ask government officials to abide by the laws and rules in place to safeguard our national security.  Secretary Hillary Clinton’s growing email scandal highlights reckless behavior by officials entrusted with some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets.”

Support for the FBI, but he offers no solutions to the severe cybersecurity labor shortage faced by federal agencies: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation also needs more resources to fight back against the onslaught of cybercrime.”

Jeb advocates cybersecurity collaboration with U.S. nation partners globally…: “The need to protect sensitive systems from bad actors is a modern-day equivalent of securing the world’s oceans for freedom of navigation, and just as nations came together to protect the seas, they should do so to secure the Internet.”

… and with the private sector: “The U.S. Government and businesses should work together as partners to improve cybersecurity in public and private sectors in a way that also respects citizens’ privacy.”

Support for the tech industry… reading between the lines you might interpret his stance as supporting cybersecurity vendors in their efforts to build stronger encryption in to its products – without too much government restriction: “As part of this national effort to improve cybersecurity, the government must not be an obstacle to innovation in the tech industry. The government’s power to incentivize and empower must take precedence over its predilection to regulate and constrain. Because cyberthreats are always evolving, effective cybersecurity requires continuous innovation, which a flourishing tech industry provides.”

Jeb says immigration can help spur new cyber startups, but he doesn’t say how: “We need to transform immigration into an economically-driven system that retains and brings in highly skilled immigrants. Such a system would help create startups and increase innovation.”

Next week: Carly Fiorina on cybersecurity.

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


Steve Morgan is the founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures and editor in chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report. The Cybersecurity Market Report is published quarterly and covers the business of cybersecurity, including global market sizing and industry forecasts from consolidated research by IT analyst firms, emerging trends, employment, the federal sector, hot companies to watch, notable M&A, investment and IPO activity, and more.