Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

3/13/2019
06:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Three in Five Politicians’ Websites Don’t Use HTTPS

Comparitech assessed the websites of more than 7,500 politicians in 37 countries and found 60.8% did not use valid SSL certificates.

Security and politics have become so intertwined since the 2016 presidential election that research group Comparitech decided it was time to look into the security of politicians’ websites.

What they found is alarming: Three in five politicians' websites lack basic HTTPS security, according to their new study.

HTTPS — the secure version of the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol — provides a way to ensure site visitors that they are communicating with the correct party, says Paul Bischoff, the tech journalist, privacy advocate, and VPN expert, who posted a blog about the study for Comparitech.

"It's really easy for fraudsters to set up a phishing site and collect money," Bischoff says. "There needs to be a push for the politicians to lead by example and make their sites more secure."

In conducting the research, the Comparitech team went old-school, Bischoff says, combing websites one-by-one to see whether the URLs contained HTTPS. The researchers only searched for the websites of politicians, not political parties or government agencies.

In all, Comparitech assessed the websites of more than 7,500 politicians in 37 countries. It found 60.8% did not use valid SSL certificates, meaning visitors' connections to those sites are not private or secure — not great when they collect forms and donations and ask people to sign up for e-newsletters, Bischoff says.

There were some surprises in the study, too. Among them: Tech-savvy countries such as South Korea and India did not fare well. In South Korea, 92.3% of politicians' websites were insecure, while in India the number was 83.9%. While the United States fared well, with only 26.2% of websites insecure, that's "a pretty high number given how security-conscious people are in the United States," Bischoff says.

Avivah Litan, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, warns that politicians should not take security lightly.

"People could be sending sensitive information to their representatives that should be protected," she says. "Deploying SSL certificates is an easy way to support the website, so it's really not excusable. We are in a major cyberwar, and the politicians are so not aware of security issues. Many don't take the time to learn."

Related Content:

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/14/2019 | 9:54:37 AM
On Government Tech
It's hard to host a website on an out-of-date IBM System/360 mainframe. LOL
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-31660
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 85da504d2dc30188b89f44c3276fc5a25b31251f contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.