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Cybersecurity and Elections: Should We Worry?

What’s the most high-tech piece of equipment a techie has in their home? A printer. And they have a baseball bat to beat it if it ever starts talking! Josh Marpet is the co-Chief Vision Officer for Red Lion and a regular tech enthusiast. He sat down with Bold TV to tell us techie jokes and to talk about cybersecurity. Most of the country sees no problem with giving unbridled access to all of our “smart” devices. But our smart refrigerator, smart TV, smart whatever are actually weak points in our home security. If tech experts see a problem with cybersecurity in individuals’ homes, how much should we be worried about larger-scale operations such as national elections? Marpet tells us why our country’s elections security could be at risk.

The security-usability conundrum

We’ve seen numerous headlines about election interference and Russia. Marpet says that election interference is a legitimate concern and problem. You may wonder why the government doesn’t create more complicated technology and make it more difficult for hackers. But Marpet says that with elections, there’s a security-usability conundrum. The higher your security, the lower your usability. The higher your usability, the lower your security. This is why, in Marpet’s words, the government “pretends like it’s about 1930” with elections. Their conundrum is making sure powerful entities can’t tamper with results while also ensuring that voting is usable to the average American citizen.

The cybersecurity threat of big tech companies

Forget foreign entities – is there a threat of big American companies threatening our elections? Marpet says no, they have too much at stake. Yes, you can assume that every titan of industry wants election results to go in a direction that favors them and their business. That is a short-term interest. But long-term, they depend on their customers. If they don’t provide consumers with feelings of privacy, security, safety and a good product, we take our business elsewhere. Yes, big tech messed up election results in Robin Williams’s 2006 film Man of the Year. But Marpet says that he highly doubts America’s real-life companies would so risk their reputation.


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