Trump and Clinton clash on who hacked the Democrats

If you didn’t manage to stay awake until 2am last night to watch secretary of state Hillary Clinton take on real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, then you’re probably better rested than those of us who decided to sneak a peak.

Perhaps no moment illustrated the candidates’ grasp of the issues better than this exchange on cybersecurity. Here is an extract from Clinton:

“Well, I think cybersecurity, cyberwarfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next president, because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries. There are the independent hacking groups that do it mostly for commercial reasons to try to steal information that they can use to make money. But increasingly, we are seeing cyber-attacks coming from states, organs of states. The most recent and troubling of these has been Russia. There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber-attacks against all kinds of organisations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this.”

By contrast, it’s fair to say, Trump was somewhat less focused:

“We came in with the internet, we came up with the internet, and I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS. So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyberwarfare. It is — it is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s ten years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”

When Clinton suggested that her rival had “let loose cyber-attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee,” Trump sought to distance himself from any hacking groups saying: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?”

Elsewhere, Trump sought to deny his past climate-change denial:

CLINTON: Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.

TRUMP: I did not. I did not. I do not say that.

CLINTON: I think science is real.

TRUMP: I do not say that.

Suffice it to say, he did.

The candidates meet again in Washington on 9 October.

Image: Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons

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