News: Cyber security legend Jeff Moss spoke at the Hackers for Hillary event.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”. When Trump issued a call to arms for Russian hackers to find opponent Hillary Clinton’s ‘missing’ emails, he may have misjudged what the reaction from the hacker community would be.
Although having already back peddled, calling his remarks a joke, Trump’s call to arms ignited interest in a fundraising event for Hilary Clinton at the world’s biggest hacking conference. Speaking to the BBC, organiser Jake Braun said that he had ‘maybe a dozen RSVPs’ in the initial stages of trying to organise the ‘Hackers for Hillary’ event. Then Trump “made his comment about giving Russia a pass to hack our election – and our RSVPs hit the roof.” Braun told the BBC.
The Hackers for Hillary event took place at the renowned Black Hat conference, a show which draws the world's biggest crowd of cyber security professionals. The founder of Black Hat, as well as the overlapping Def Con show, Jeff Moss, agreed to speak at the Clinton event, despite being an independent voter. He told the BBC’s Dave Lee: “Whoever the next president is they’re going to have big challenges in cyber security. Hillary has talked more to these issues than Trump has.
PICTURE: Gage Skidmore
“If it wasn’t Trump, and the two candidates were similar, then this [event] wouldn’t have happened. Because the candidates are so different, I think that fear of the unknown is what’s driving a lot of this."
Mr Moss told the BBC that Trump’s stance on internet freedom remains unclear, with Clinton’s work on helping foreign dissidents gain access to the internet a huge plus for her cyber credentials.
The Hackers for Hillary event is an important milestone for the hacker community – a community which has been traditionally apolitical. Explaining his risky decision to participate in the event, Mr Moss told the Guardian:
“It’s risky and will probably hurt my reputation, but I don’t know how you can influence policy makers and have a seat at the table if you don’t participate. We can either get involved in policy or policy can be done to us. We can either embrace it or be passive about it, but it’s going to happen one way or the other.”