Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cyberwarfare

FBI, CISA Warn of Disinformation Campaigns Targeting 2020 Election Results

Threat actors are expected to launch disinformation campaigns targeting the results of the 2020 elections in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in an alert this week.

Threat actors are expected to launch disinformation campaigns targeting the results of the 2020 elections in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in an alert this week.

Spreading disinformation on the results of the elections represents a threat to the credibility of the electoral process, meant to undermine confidence in the democratic institutions in the United States, the alert reads.

According to the FBI and CISA, both foreign actors and cybercriminals are expected to target the 2020 elections through newly created websites, changes made to existing websites, as well as through the creation and sharing of corresponding social media content containing false information.

Election results, the two agencies note, are typically validated within several days or weeks, to ensure that every legally cast vote has been accurately counted. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the use of mail-in ballots, which leads to incomplete results on election night.

“Foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud, and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy,” the alert reads.

Thus, the FBI and CISA advise towards evaluating sources of information to ensure they are reliable (such as state and local election officials) and that they provide verified information. What’s more, the agencies say, the public should also keep in mind that, even if threat actors may successfully alter election-related websites, the underlying data and internal systems remain uncompromised.

The public is also advised to verify who produced the content they are accessing, verify through multiple sources any reports on issues related to voting or election results before sharing such content on social media or other venues, and rely on election officials for information on final election results.

Furthermore, the public is encouraged to report potential election crimes, such as disinformation on the election process, to the FBI, or use the tools offered by social media companies to report posts that might be spreading false or inconsistent election-related information.

Related: Security of Post-Election Vote Count Top Worry: US Official

Related: Facebook, Google Step Up Election Protection Efforts

Related: Foreign Threats Loom Ahead of US Presidential Election

Related: Ransomware Feared as Possible Saboteur for November Election

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Cyberwarfare

Websites of German airports, administration bodies and banks were hit by DDoS attacks attributed to Russian hacker group Killnet

CISO Strategy

Cybersecurity-related risk is a top concern, so boards need to know they have the proper oversight in place. Even as first-timers, successful CISOs make...

Management & Strategy

Industry professionals comment on the recent disruption of the Hive ransomware operation and its hacking by law enforcement.

Cybercrime

The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Ransomware

US government reminds the public that a reward of up to $10 million is offered for information on cybercriminals, including members of the Hive...

Management & Strategy

Tens of cybersecurity companies have announced cutting staff over the past year, in some cases significant portions of their global workforce.

Ransomware

The Hive ransomware website has been seized as part of an operation that involved law enforcement in 10 countries.