The overwhelming majority of the cybersecurity industry does not trust politicians to effectively regulate digital security, despite believing that more legislation is sorely needed.

This is according to a survey of experts attending Black Hat USA 2019 by Venafi, which found that while 80% believed more legislation was required, 82% did not believe elected officials were capable of understanding cybersecurity risks well enough to enact effective regulation.

82% also expressed a lack of trust in their government to protect their personally identifiable information, while 80% said they thought government officials simply did not understand the risks facing digital infrastructure.

The industry also has severe distrust of social media companies, with 93% of respondents saying that they did not trust such organisations with their personally identifiable information.

Cybersecurity trust in politicians

The findings come as governments have become growing targets of cyberattacks, particularly at a local level.

In the US there have been a string of attacks targeting local government departments, including in Texas where numerous departments were held to ransom by a single malicious attacker.

Such incidents often expose poor security practices within governments, and have done little to reassure cybersecurity experts that legislators know what they are doing when it comes to online security.

“There’s a global wave of legislators, regulators and law enforcement officials proposing controversial surveillance laws such as government mandated encryption backdoors,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi.

“However, security professionals lack confidence in politicians’ abilities to improve cybersecurity given the unabated flood of government breaches in the US and around the world.

“The results of our survey send a clear message that governments must improve their cybersecurity fluency in order to make a meaningful impact and help our frontline defenders protect the global economy, freedoms and privacy.”