“An enormous amount of data about U.S. citizens is available to cybercriminals”, says James Feldkamp, a former special agent for the FBI. “There is no doubt that Russia sought to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States, to undermine faith in democratic institutions, and to elect Donald Trump president by whatever means possible.” The Russian government chose to target Americans with different political views, in order to exacerbate existing divisions and to suggest that the presidential election process was rigged. This was not about seeking to help Hillary Clinton or to discredit Donald Trump as a candidate; it was an effort to undermine democracy.

James Feldkamp was a member of the U.S. Government’s National Committee to Prevent Piracy and Terrorism. He has also spoken on several panels and was a participant in a National Institute of Justice conference on Terrorism in 1993. Earlier this year, James Feldkamp received a Fulbright Citation in honor of his work in military intelligence.

Now, years since the 2016 presidential election, there is a very real investigation that concerns the robustness of our national cybersecurity. Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned Congress and Americans, that the lead-up to the 2020 elections represented a significant threat to data security, and that there were vulnerabilities worth noting. The democratic process is best served when everyone is able to participate in it, and everyone is educated.

Almost weekly reports of data breaches underscore how vulnerable Americans are to email targeting by criminals and foreign adversaries, which is fueling a hacker black market that is making millions from stealing data. James Feldkamp and various cybersecurity firms have uncovered and identified various pieces of information that have been sold on the dark web. Instead of merely sending data out in email messages, criminals are instead forcing emails into people’s inboxes and reaping millions in profit. “Most Americans will receive an email in their inbox at some point this fall that contains spam or some type of scam meant to steal proprietary information”, warns James Feldkamp. Ohio and Alabama are already among the states that have been hit by the data breach, as has the Ohio Department of Elections. The Bureau of National Affairs has also had information stolen by cyberattacks, according to multiple sources.  One company, which currently chooses not to be identified, plans to publish the names of the states where citizens have had their personal information exposed. This company reported uncovering the data dump from unnamed security partners. “This is a real wake-up call,” said Cliff Cauthen, vice president of threat intelligence at a national cybersecurity firm. “They are receiving emails that go to their address books and people should be very concerned. This is not going to stop now.”