Trump: Cybersecurity should be a top priority

The Republican presidential candidate says his administration would strengthen the US's defenses against hacking attacks.

Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
Expertise E-commerce, Amazon, earned wage access, online marketplaces, direct to consumer, unions, labor and employment, supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, stalkerware, hacking. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie Award for a single article in consumer technology
Laura Hautala
2 min read

Donald Trump greets veteran Louis Dorfman, who gave Trump his Purple Heart, during an August campaign event in Ashburn, Virginia.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

What would Donald Trump do about cybersecurity if elected president? His statements so far have been a little vague. Until now.

On Monday, he gave some specifics on how he'd approach protecting the government and private industry from the threat of hackers.

"To truly make America safe, we truly have to make cybersecurity a major priority," Trump said in his speech at an event hosted by Retired American Warriors, where about 250 retired veterans sat in the audience, according to CBS News.

Saying he'd request a "thorough review" of current US capabilities, Trump cited state-sponsored hacking attacks by Russia, China and North Korea as the nation's top cybersecurity concern. He also listed major hacks and data breaches that have affected departments of the US government like the Office of Personnel Management, as well as private companies like JPMorgan Chase.

The comments come on the heels of statements Trump made at the first presidential debate with opponent Hillary Clinton last week. While saying the US needs to be better at cybersecurity, Trump also questioned whether Russia was truly responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee.

"I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China," Trump said at the debate. "It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?"

Trump's comments were in response to Clinton's statements about cybersecurity. "There's no doubt now that Russia has used cyberattacks against all kinds of organizations in our country and I am deeply concerned about this," Clinton said.

She went on to chide Trump for praising Russian president Vladimir Putin, even though Russian cyberspies have been blamed for hacking the DNC.