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CrowdStrike CEO: There's a 'real awakening' about the threat of 2020 election hacking

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

At least governments are becoming cognizant of — and more willing to pre-emptively act on — the threat to the election process from cybercriminals.

“Post 2016 [election], I think there has been a real awakening as to the threat that is out there. So that’s the good news on this end that people are aware this has happened and want to protect against it happening,” CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO George Kurtz tells Yahoo Finance.

Obviously, many politicians in the U.S. were badly asleep at the technological switch during the 2016 presidential campaign. It’s something they hope to avoid — by spending on key cybersecurity tech from the likes of CrowdStrike — into the 2020 election.

In July, the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a report that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And just earlier this month, the same committee said in a new report that bad online actors in Russia could target the 2020 presidential election.

President Trump has continuously denied Russia played any role in his winning of the presidency.

Recall that CrowdStrike was called on by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the 2016 hack of its email and chat systems. CrowdStrike and several other cybersecurity firms found that Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the DNC hack.

Some of the Facebook and Instagram ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process and stir up tensions around divisive social issues, released by members of the U.S. House Intelligence committee, are photographed in Washington. Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election has generally been seen as two separate, unrelated tracks: hacking Democratic emails and sending provocative tweets. But a new study suggests the tactics were likely intertwined. On the eve of the release of hacked Clinton campaign emails, Russian-linked trolls retweeted messages from thousands of accounts on both extremes of the American ideological spectrum. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

The work CrowdStrike did for the DNC — coupled with its leadership position in the security cloud market — have it teed up to win new business from governments ahead of the 2020 election. CrowdStrike received the important FedRAMP certification last year, and is now able to pitch for new business from government agencies.

“Given the technology that we have and the ability to stop breaches, it has been very well received not only in the Fed market but also in state and local governments. And I think you've seen a lot of those stories specifically around ransomware. Given our AI and our machine learning, we've been able to prevent those ransomware attacks for our customers without any signature updates or any changes,” Kurtz told analysts on a Sept. 5 earnings call.

Kurtz added, “We think both Fed and state and local government are great opportunities for us, and we're really excited about those as we get into the buying season, particularly in the Fed space.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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