Craigslist Founder Joins Fight Against Cybercrime

Photo Credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock
April 9, 2019

By Taylor Craig

The creator of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, is joining the fight for cybersecurity with a $1 million donation to the Global Cybersecurity Alliance (GCA).

The funding will help the global cybersecurity firm in its efforts to protect democratic institutions like journalism, non-profits, and electoral systems from hackers.

The GCA announced “the development of new toolkits basically to protect the people that protect the country,” Newmark told Cheddar in an interview Tuesday. “Our country, our democracy relies on the safety, physical and data, of journalists. It relies on the physical safety and security of elections officials. This is a big next step in their protection.”

Phil Reitinger, GCA’s president and CEO, appeared alongside Newmark. Reitinger said that he’s growing increasingly concerned with possible online tampering in the 2020 election.

“There are still a lot of holes,” Reitinger told Cheddar. “Not even the federal money that’s been promulgated has been spent and, of course, we’ve seen with social media and attacks on media, we’re subject to manipulation. I’m worried.”

Social media companies have long claimed to be platforms, not publishers, and therefore not responsible for editing content. But Reitinger said large sites with resources should take responsibility for stopping the spread of disinformation.

GCA’s new toolkits, however, are designed specifically for smaller organizations that may have limited resources to protect their systems from hackers.

“Where the toolkit can help is making sure that legitimate media are not taken over, and their social media isn’t used to spread false information,” Reitinger said.

Reitinger explained that every day people fail to deploy “basic hygiene steps” to reduce their cyber risk, which includes encrypting data, using two-factor authentication, and installing anti-virus software to detect malware.

Newmark added that his respect for journalism goes back to an unforgettable lesson he learned in high school.

“In U.S. history class, I learned that a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” he said. “We rely on journalists to tell us what’s going on so we can make smart decisions.”

For full interview click here.