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State Hacking and Trump Drive Data Privacy Concerns

Concerns over state-sponsored hacking and the Trump administration appear to be driving concerns over data privacy in the security community, according to new research carried out by Venafi.

The security vendor polled nearly 1000 security professionals at RSA Conference this week and found nearly three-quarters are now more worried about the security of their data.

Two-thirds said their organization is considering increasing its use of encryption as a result.

“The tension between data privacy and national security is going to continue to escalate,” said Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi, in a statement. “Encryption is the lynchpin of our entire global digital economy. It controls the privacy and security of everything from our personal photos to the most sensitive national security data. Our collective ability to secure encrypted data has a profound impact on digital privacy and trust around the world.”

However, key figures in the new Trump administration including the president himself are known to favor encryption backdoors.

Newly appointed attorney general, Jeff Sessions, made his position clear in a written response to questions posed by senator Patrick Leahy last month:

“Encryption serves many valuable and important purposes. It is also critical, however, that national security and criminal investigators be able to overcome encryption, under lawful authority, when necessary to the furtherance of national-security and criminal investigations.”

It’s no surprise, therefore, that three-quarters (72%) of IT security pros are more concerned today about encryption backdoors than they were a year ago, according to the Venafi poll.

What’s more, nearly a third (32%) said they are “not confident” or have only “50% confidence” in their organizations’ ability to protect and secure encrypted communication.

Venafi argues that the sheer number of digital keys and certificates organizations have to manage today has compromised the integrity of encryption programs.

“The challenges organizations are already facing in managing and securing encryption keys, combined with concerns about the integrity and strength of encryption implementations, is undermining confidence in the privacy and security of data,” argued Venafi’s CTO of server products, Paul Turner.

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