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Stung by hacks, the Democratic National Committee is switching from Android to iPhones

September 21st, 2018 at 11:34 PM
Democrats hack

Bob Lord, chief information officer of the Democratic National Committee, swears this is not a “religious debate.” But after the alleged hacks of its systems during the 2016 presidential campaign and the possibility that bad actors could try something similar again for the midterms, the DNC has decided to promote the usage of iPhones across its staff as well as across the larger Democratic sphere. Meaning campaigns and state-level groups, too.

Lord’s comment was an allusion to the fact that this is not the party picking a side in that old fight about which system is more secure than the other. He explained in an interview with Forbes that one big reason for this choice is Apple being faster to offer patches for security vulnerabilities compared to what Google has to contend with, thanks to the scores of different Android handset manufacturers which slows some update downs.

About the devices from some of those manufacturers, Lord told Forbes that “It’s very hard for me to know if you’ve purchased a particular phone from a vendor what their appetite for doing quality assurance is.” He went on to explain the party’s current bias is towards the iPhone — but, to his point about this not being a religious debate, that position could change in the future. “Evidence,” he said, “could change our minds.”

Per the Forbes report, “The move to address smartphone security across the Democrats comes as the DNC is investing significantly in protecting the party’s digital assets in the build-up to this year’s midterm elections. Prior to Lord joining earlier this year, and just after 2016’s catastrophic breaches, the DNC employed ex-Uber engineering director Raffi Krikorian as chief technology officer.”

Krikorian last month, the report continues, teamed up with organizers at the DEF CON hacking conference to sponsor an event that saw children as young as eight years old breaking into some of the country’s voting systems. He’s also been sending out emails in an attempt to trick staffers into falling for phishing attempts — to see who would be vulnerable to the real thing.

Not that this gets anywhere close to resolving that unnecessary fight about which platform is more secure, but it is noteworthy to see the party making a big decision like this, switching to iPhones, after being stung so hard by digital intrusions just two years ago — to such a degree, of course, that it may have changed the direction of the country.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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