US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may have no trouble securing her emails in the future, thanks to an unlikely ally among the hacker community. The Clinton campaign had organised a fundraiser event at the annual Black Hat USA conference, which saw unprecedented attendance, following Trump's remarks on encouraging Russia to find his rival's missing emails.
The event saw the Clinton campaign raise around $30,000. However, the central issue surrounding the event was the opportunity to attract the generally apolitical hacker community to get more involved in the ongoing political processes. Despite the Clinton campaign's efforts to do so, it appears it was Trump's inflammatory comments that finally provoked interest in the event.
Jake Braun, CEO of Cambridge Global Advisors, and co-organiser of the event, said "Maybe 12 people had RSVP'd until then.
"It went through the roof after that. It really helps when you have Donald Trump giving Russia a pass on hacking our democracy," the Guardian reported.
Black Hat and Defcon founder Jeff Moss, who goes by the pseudonym Dark Tangent and is considered a legend in the cybersecurity community, also weighed in, claiming that it may now be time for hackers to stop standing in the political sidelines.
"It's risky and will probably hurt my reputation. But I don't know how you can influence policy makers and have a seat at the table if you don't participate. We can either get involved in policy or policy can be done to us. We can either embrace it or be passive about it, but it's going to happen one way or the other," he said.
"I'm a technocrat. I care about seeing the right things get done," Jason Healey, former White House cybersecurity adviser during the Bush administration, said. "But in this election, you can't sit back and say anymore that whoever the president's going to be, I'll serve them. It's time to get involved in the campaign."
"The security community is very concerned because they understand how vulnerable our election equipment is, and how active Russia has been with cyber attacks on other democracies like the Ukraine, Georgia, and Kurdistan," Moss added. "Most of the general public doesn't know that. But these people do."
Surprisingly and ironically, Trump's controversial remarks appear to have incited enough outrage among the hacker community to perhaps even negate Clinton's rocky history with the cybersecurity community. In the past, Clinton has claimed that former NSA agent Edward Snowden should be extradited to the US to face charges, denying that he was a whistleblower. She has also previously called for a Manhattan Project-like initiative to aid law enforcement agencies break encryption.
However, Trump's recent slew of comments, including rejecting support for Nato, encouraging a foreign nation, Russia in this case, to conduct cyberespionage and more, appears to now be helping gather support for his rival.
"Donald Trump and Russia are my best fundraising tools ever," Braun told Wired.