Cyber security experts told newsnet5.com that Donald Trump, his supporters, local businesses and Cleveland residents are all possible targets for cyber hacking during the city’s Republican National Convention this summer.
Dave Kennedy, Founder of TrustedSec, an information security consulting company based in Strongsville, said “hacktavist” groups like Anonymous have already targeted the RNC’s presumed nominee Donald Trump.
“They have an active campaign exposing Donald Trump, his information and everything that is supported by him,” Kennedy explained.
Kennedy said the RNC could be an optimal time for hackers to execute cyber attacks.
“Think about what bigger stage that you have as a hacker than going into and tearing apart the Republican National Convention with cyber capabilities,” he said.
Kennedy said Trump’s supporters and RNC sponsors should be careful about opening up emails from unfamiliar addresses and clicking links.
“Just by you clicking that link, I can take full control of your computer,” he said.
Matt Neely, Director of Strategic Initiatives at SecureStatein Bedford Heights, told newsnet5.com that a range of different hackers could pose threats against local businesses during the RNC.
“Hackers will use events as kind of a smoke screen to block a larger attack,” Neely said. “That would be the concern with the RNC. There are companies in town that could be targeted because of that and they may not usually be in the national spotlight.”
Neely said hackers could cause damage in a variety of ways, including breaking into networks and stealing financial information.
“Some could be just taking the websites offline, defacing the websites to get out political messages or disrupt business,” he said.
SecureState is currently working with a large group of businesses across Northeast Ohio to help form incident response plans for the RNC.
“A little bit of preparation can go a long way,” said Neely, who also writes a blog series on how businesses can prepare for the RNC.
Kennedy also warned that large crowds, like the ones expected in Cleveland this July, are often targeted by ATM skimmers.
ATM skimmers are hidden electronics use to steal personal data stored on credit cards.
“Cover your hands when you put your pin in,” Kennedy said. “Because a lot of the time skimmers will place small micro cameras in the area to capture your pin.”
Kennedy said skimmers are usually mounted on the front of ATMs and sometimes can be wiggled off.