Threat actors are expected to spread false information regarding hacked voter information and voting systems, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) say in an alert.
Last week, the two agencies issued a warning on possible campaigns aimed at distributing false information about the election results, urging the population to double check all sources of information to ensure their validity and make sure the data they receive comes from reliable sources, such as state and local election officials.
At the time, the agencies noted that disinformation campaigns might leverage websites, social media, and other venues to disseminate false information about voter suppression, cyber-attacks on election infrastructure, fraud, and other issues.
In a new alert, the FBI and CISA reiterate the warning, noting that “foreign actors and cyber criminals are spreading false and inconsistent information through various online platforms in an attempt to manipulate public opinion, sow discord, discredit the electoral process, and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.”
During the current election season, these actors are expected to spread false information claiming that hacking groups successfully compromised the election infrastructure and compromised U.S. voter registration data.
The reality, the two agencies point out, is that much of the U.S. voter information is available for purchase through publicly available sources. Although threat actors might have acquired voter registration information, the voting process and the election results are not impacted by this, the FBI and CISA say.
They also point out that there’s no indication that cyber-attacks have so far “prevented an election from occurring, prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, compromised the accuracy of voter registration information, or compromised the integrity of any ballots cast.”
The same as before, the population is advised to ensure information comes from trustworthy sources, to only rely on state and local election officials when it comes to information on voter registration and voting systems, and verify through reliable sources any reports about compromises of voting systems or databases containing voter information.
Furthermore, citizens are encouraged to report potential election crimes, including disinformation, and use the tools available on social media platforms to report suspicious posts that might be “spreading false or inconsistent information about voter information or voting systems.”
“The FBI and CISA coordinate closely with federal, state, and local election partners and provide services and information to safeguard U.S. voting processes and maintain the integrity of U.S. elections. Both organizations urge the American public to critically evaluate the sources of the information they consume and to seek out reliable and verified information,” the alert also notes.