Hacking the Presidential Election: The Dimensions of Russian Interference

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Food and Beverages will be provided thanks to our sponsors ThreatConnect and TEKsystems!

The 2016 US presidential election is among the most tumultuous in the country's history. The stark differences between the two major-party candidates, both in terms of demeanor as well as policy, make November 8th a pivotal day for the future of the United States and the world. Join Patrik Maldre, Managing Partner at Retel Partners, and Toni Gidwani, Director of Research Operations at ThreatConnect, discuss their direct experience with election cyber security breaches.

In addition to numerous other unprecedented developments, the 2016 election is also the first one in which US civilian and intelligence agencies have publicly accused the government of another state, Russia, of actively interfering in the election process. Russian cyber threat actors have breached networks and stolen data from key Democratic Party campaign officials and national institutions. They have also targeted election-related systems at the state level, including the ex-filtration of up to 200,000 voter records in Illinois. While key political offices and national elections in the US have long been of acute interest to foreign intelligence agencies from many countries, the Russia-directed public disclosures and leaks of sensitive data make this race unique.

The Russian Government is carrying out an influence operation to impact the course of the American election while attempting to maintain plausible deniability. What is Russia's motivation for doing so? Have similar operations been carried out in the past? More broadly, how do cyber capabilities fit into Russia's broader foreign and security policy toolkit? And what can be done by America and its allies to respond to this operation? These questions and many more will be discussed at the Evolve Security Academy's next meetup.

About Patrik Maldre:

Patrik Maldre is Managing Partner of Retel Partners, which he started in June 2016 in Estonia. Retel Partners works to build bridges between Europe and the United States in the fields of defense, cyber security, and e-government by providing analytical, translation, program management, and business development services.

Previously, Patrik has focused on the political and strategic aspects of cyber security as both a diplomat in Estonia and an analyst in the United States. As Desk Officer for Cyber Security Policy in the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he represented Estonia in international organizations, coordinated multinational projects, and prepared statements for high-level Estonian officials. As an analyst on both sides of the Atlantic, Patrik has also published various book chapters, op-eds, and briefing papers about Estonia, the Baltic cyber threat landscape, NATO cyber defense, and Russian cyber capabilities.

Patrik completed mandatory military service in the Estonian Defence Forces as a sergeant and squad leader, and continues to serve on a voluntary basis in the Estonian Defence League. He holds a double-B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, and is currently working towards a Certificate in Cyber Intelligence from the University of South Florida and a Diploma in Cyber Security from the Evolve Security Academy in Chicago, USA.

About Toni Gidwani:

Toni Gidwani is the Director of Research Operations at ThreatConnect and leads ThreatConnect’s research team, an elite group of globally-acknowledged cybersecurity experts dedicated to tracking down existing and emerging cyber threats. Prior to joining ThreatConnect, Toni led analytic teams in the U.S. Department of Defense. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

About Evolve Security Academy:

Evolve is a cyber security bootcamp that provides students with hands-on training from highly experienced industry professionals. Evolve partners with not-for-profits, performing security assessment work throughout the curriculum, giving each student the real project work experience and concrete practical skills that are needed to land or advance a career. Evolve’s primary focus is on creating top-tier cyber security talent and placing them into high-paying jobs through professional staffing and direct hire services.

About ThreatConnect:

ThreatConnect unites cybersecurity people, processes and technologies behind a cohesive intelligence-driven defense. Built for security teams at all maturity levels, the ThreatConnect platform enables organizations to benefit from their collective knowledge and talents; develop security processes; and leverage their existing technologies to identify, protect and respond to threats in a measurable way. More than 1,200 companies and agencies worldwide use ThreatConnect to maximize the value of their security technology investments, combat the fragmentation of their security organizations, and enhance their infrastructure with relevant threat intelligence. To register for a free ThreatConnect account or learn more, visit: www.threatconnect.com.

About TEKSystems:

TEKsystems is a $3.8 billion IT services company, known for excellence in the industry. We provide the best talent in the country by hand picking the best and brightest and placing them at our client sites. We have deployed over 2,000 Information Security consultants in the past two years. We currently have over 500 active CISSP certified consultants and 400 recruiters certified to identify top talent. We also stay informed on market trends by partnering with companies such as SailPoint, Curion, RSA, Oracle and many more.