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Presidential elections are like 'the World's Cup of cybersecurity attacks': Cloudflare CEO

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Cyber criminals are probably gearing up to try to unleash havoc on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

At least that’s the read from top cybersecurity firm Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince.

“We have unfortunately run the risk of making every presidential election in the U.S. effectively the World’s Cup of cybersecurity attacks,” Prince told Yahoo Finance on the ground at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Good news is that we and a lot of other companies are stepping up...to help protect these institutions.”

Prince added, “What the 2016 [presidential election] taught us is that there is a lot of people trying to disrupt U.S. elections. But we also see that around the world. We had 16 of the 17 major presidential candidates as Cloudflare customers, everyone but Hillary Clinton actually. So what we saw was the attacks coming to those candidates. I think the world has now woken up to that as a new threat.”

In July of last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a report that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The same committee said in October that bad online actors in Russia could target the 2020 presidential election.

President Trump has continuously denied Russia played any role in his winning of the presidency.

Dealing with cyberattacks more broadly is a major topic here at this year’s World Economic Forum. Prince said there is greater sense of urgency within executives at WEF around beefing up cybersecurity efforts compared to 2012, when Prince first attended the gathering.

The influx of deals, said Prince, has Cloudflare “on the path to profitability.” Prince declined to say whether the company — which had its IPO in September 2019 — would be profitable in 2020.

Watch Yahoo Finance’s full live network coverage of the 50th Annual World Economic Forum from January 21-24 here.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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