ICYMI: Politico: Inside the race to hack-proof the Democratic Party

By Eric Geller


October 17, 2018


The Democratic National Committee has spent 14 months staffing up with tech talent from Silicon Valley, training staff to spot suspicious emails and giving the FBI someone to talk to if it spots signs of hackers targeting the party.


The first concrete sign of success may come in a few weeks, if the Democrats make it through the November midterm elections unscathed. But Raffi Krikorian, the DNC’s chief technology officer, is already pointing to one significant accomplishment — what he calls a massive overhaul of digital security at the committee and its sister organizations.


That would be a big leap from September 2015, when the FBI’s first attempt to alert the party to a suspected Russian cyberattack reached a DNC IT contractor who thought it was a prank. Such a major flub would not happen now, said Krikorian, whose résumé includes senior roles at Uber and Twitter.


“It would be surprising if a week went by and I didn’t hear from one of the three-letter agencies in my inbox,” Krikorian told POLITICO during an interview at the committee’s headquarters. Representatives of the bureau and other federal agencies have “been in our building to ask how they can help or what information we might be able to coordinate on in the future.”


Krikorian and his team have been trying to instill that same mindset throughout the party, including among Democratic campaigns and state parties. The party’s entire apparatus is “aware that security’s something they should be concerned about,” he said. “We’re actually moving up this curve at a fairly good clip.”