Trump has published his policy on cybersecurity. It demonstrates that he and his people do not understand the first thing about cybersecurity.
Specifically, he wants “the best defense technologies” and “cyber awareness training for all government employees”. These are well known bad policies in the cybersecurity industry. They are the sort of thing the intern with a degree from Trump University would come up with.
Awareness training is the knee-jerk response to any problem. Employees already spend a lot of their time doing mandatory training for everything from environmental friendly behavior, to sexual harassment, to Sarbannes-Oxley financial compliance, to cyber-security. None of it has proven effective, but organizations continue to force it, either because they are required to, or they are covering their asses. No amount of training employees to not click on email attachments helps. Instead, the network must be secure enough that reckless clicking on attachments pose no danger.
Belief in a technological Magic Pill that will stop hackers is common among those who know nothing about cybersecurity. Such pills don’t exist. The least secure networks already have “the best defense technologies”. Things like anti-virus, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems do not stop hackers by themselves – but area instead tools that knowledgeable teams use in order to make their jobs easier. It’s like how a chisel doesn’t make a sculpture by itself, but is instead just a tool used by the artist. The government already has all the technology it needs. It’s problems instead derive from the fact that they try to solve their problems the way Trump does – by assigning the task to some Trump University intern.
Lastly, Trump suggests that on the offensive side, we need to improve our offensive abilities, in order to create a cyber deterrence. We already do that. The United States is by far the #1 nation in offensive capabilities. In 2015, Obama forced China to the table, to sign an agreement promising they’d stop hacking us. Since then, China has kept the agreement, and has dropped out of the news as being the source of cyber attacks. Privately, many people in government tell me its because we did some major cyber attack in China that successfully deterred them.
Trump promises to be a strong leader who hires effective people. He demonstrates this nowhere. In my area of expertise, he and his people demonstrate a shocking ignorance of the issues. It's typical populist rhetoric: when China and Russia rape our computers, he'll blame it on some sort of rigged system, not his own incompetence.
Disclaimer: I don't care about Trump's locker room comments, or any of the other things that get the mass media upset. I oppose Trump because he's a vacuous populist, as I demonstrate here.