GOP Candidates’ Official Websites Pretty HackableBy: Drew Bowling - April 9, 2012
Now that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to be (finally) pulling away from his tenacious opponents, it’s expected that election news will slowly pivot towards this fall’s general election. As the country moves into that leg of the race, you can expect that much will be discussed and debated regarding the issue of national security. An aspect of this that should be included in the dialogue is most certainly national cybersecurity. President Obama himself has said that cyber threats are “one of the most serious economic and national security threats our nation faces.” Given that hackers from China have infiltrated NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and former terrorism advisor to the White House Richard Clarke has claimed that every major U.S. company has been hacked by China, it’s worth any presidential candidate’s time to study up on cybersecurity and plan accordingly.
While that’s what candidates should be doing, it’s not exactly what they are in fact doing. A new report from AmIHackerProof.com has revealed that all of the GOP presidential candidates’ official websites are vulnerable to hacker attacks. Between February 18 and April 2, 2012, AmIHackerProof.com scanned each candidate’s website for vulnerabilities, like a hacker would, to see how secure the top candidates’ websites are against being attacked. We contacted the campaigns prior to the release of this story, so that some of the information we are showing cannot be used by a would-be hacker. The results revealed that every Republican candidate’s website contained numerous vulnerabilities.
Gregory Evans, cyber security expert and creator of AmIHackerProof.com, said in a statement, “Since President Obama was elected to office, more elite cyber security experts have been utilized than ever before, but this still is not enough to fight off China, who outnumbers us 8 to 1.” He added, “If you can’t protect your own website by hiring the right team, how can we be assured that you can protect the nation’s networks.”
The most egregious amount of vulnerabilities were found on one-time (and one-time again) frontrunner Rick Santorum’s website, which contained 98 vulnerabilities.
“When we saw the report on Rick Santorum we were floored,” says Evans. “There were so many gaps in security that we were in awe. Potentially, in the wrong hands, this type of information could be used to change his standing in the GOP race.”
Indeed, is a hacker were able to penetrate one of the candidates’ websites, they’d could cause a range of trouble from fabricating press releases to accesses the entire email database of donors or supporters. Perhaps worse, a hacker could insert their own PayPal account information in place of the candidates’ and reroute any donations from the candidate and into the hacker’s account.
Here’s how the four main Republican candidates’ websites as well as the official website for the GOP held up to AmIHackerProof.com’s test:
For what it’s worth, using AmIHackingProof.com’s online scanner to search www.barackobama.com produced zero results. According to the site, sites only show up in the search results if they are found to have vulnerabilities so, given President Obama’s site didn’t show up in any of the report searches, his site appears to be relatively more secure.