Cybersecurity would be a priority in a Trump administration, the candidate said.
Cybersecurity would be a priority in a Trump administration, the candidate said.

After introducing the specter of the 400-pound hacker into a presidential debate discussion on “the cyber,” Republican nominee Donald Trump said at a rally Monday cybersecurity would be an “immediate and top priority” in his administration.

“To truly make America safe, we truly have to make cybersecurity a major priority,” he said at a Retired American Warriors (RAWPAC) event in Virginia, according to CBS News.

Noting that attacks “are happening on a regular basis both in the United States and around the world,” Trump pledged to make the country's military “the best in the the best in the world -- in cyber offense and defense --and in every other way, by the way, every other way.”

He took swipes at both President Obama for what he called fail cybersecurity policy and rival Hillary Clinton, saying her "only experience in cybersecurity involves a criminal scheme to violate federal law, engineering a massive coverup and putting the nation in harm's way."

In a departure from the tone and timber of last week's debate in which he expressed doubt that Russians were responsible for hacks at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political targets, Trump named Russia along with North Korea and China as “one of our most critical national security concerns.”

The U.S., he said, must have the “unquestioned capacity to launch crippling counter-cyberattacks,” adding that the country's dominance today is “totally questioned.”

But  Igor Baikalov, chief scientist for Securonix, said “to defend against somebody and to launch ‘crippling counter-cyberattacks,' we better be sure who this somebody is,” a task made harder because attribution is so difficult.

“The chances of hitting an innocent bystander who was set up for a fall by the more sophisticated adversary are too great to dismiss as a collateral damage,” Baikalov said in comments emailed to SCMagazine.com. “The need for accurate attribution will lead to increased traffic monitoring and surveillance both at the infrastructure and the endpoint levels. Prepare to see a significant increase of the NSA budget.”