Who Knows More About Cybersecurity: Middle Schooler or Presidential Candidates?

Cyberwarfare

A middle school filmmaker from New Jersey may be the next big expert in cybersecurity and cyber warfare.

Zachary Kesselhaut produced a short documentary titled “Cyberwarfare: The Next Big Problem,” which addresses the lack of cyber knowledge among presidential and political candidates.

Zachary Kesselhaut“Their platforms mainly concentrate on social and economic issues, but none of them have mentioned what could be our biggest issue ever as a country,” Kesselhaut said in the documentary.

Kesselhaut’s seven-minute film won second place in C-SPAN’s 2016 Middle School Student Cam competition. This year’s theme was “Road to the White House.”

Kesselhaut’s film addresses major cyber issues, such as denial of service (DOS) hacks, endangered infrastructure, and a lack of governmental funding. For example, in 1998, a 12-year-old was able to hack into the systems of the Roosevelt Dam in Arizona, damaging nothing but proving just how weak infrastructure cybersecurity can be.

The filmmaker also found that most infrastructure that uses Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) monitoring keeps the default passwords set by the manufacturer, which can be found through a basic Web search.

The film also pointed out that funding for U.S. Cyber Command–the only government entity that has the authority to employ direct cyberattacks–has gone from $550 million in 2014 to $460 million in 2016.

Kesselhaut interviewed a number of cybersecurity experts in the film. One, Bill Carver, said, “I think it’s critical for our president and for any candidates and potential presidents to be familiar with cybersecurity.”

3 Comments
  1. Anonymous | - Reply
    The presidential candidates need to listen to this young filmmaker and start addressing cybersecurity sooner, rather than later.
  2. Anonymous | - Reply
    Very interesting. This should open the eyes of the candidates; if a middle school student can figure this out, they should be able to as well
  3. Anonymous | - Reply
    Great perspective - while the social and economic issues are also important, it seems as though candidates forget to lump in cybersecurity with the larger national security conversation. We need to be just as concerned with cyber attacks as we are with an attack on the ground.

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