FBI: False Claims of Hacked Voting Systems and Registration Databases Likely Intended to Cast Doubt on Legitimacy of Elections
Are you worried about disinformation regarding cyberattacks on elections infrastructure?
by Causes | 9.28.20
What’s the story?
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a public service announcement on Monday to increase awareness among the American public of the potential threat posed by efforts to spread disinformation regarding cyberattacks on voter registration databases or voting systems. The warning comes as several foreign nations, including Russia, China, and Iran, seek to interfere in the election for their own ends.
- The agencies' statement explained:
During the 2020 election season, foreign actors and cyber criminals are spreading false and inconsistent information through various online platforms in an attempt to manipulate public opinion, discredit the electoral process, and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions. These malicious actors could use these forums to also spread disinformation suggesting successful cyber operations have compromised election infrastructure and facilitated the “hacking” and “leaking” of U.S. voter registration data.
In reality, much U.S. voter information can be purchased or acquired through publicly available sources. While cyber actors have in recent years obtained voter registration information, the acquisition of this data did not impact the voting process or the integrity of election results. In addition, the FBI and CISA have no information suggesting any cyberattack on U.S. election infrastructure has prevented an election from occurring, compromised the accuracy of voter registration information, prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, or compromised the integrity of any ballots cast.
- The FBI and CISA both urged the American public to “critically evaluate the sources of the information they consume and to seek out reliable and verified information.” They also provided the following recommendations:
Seek out information from trustworthy sources, verify who produced the content, and consider their intent.
Rely on state and local election officials for information about voter registration databases and voting systems.
View early, unverified claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Verify through multiple reliable sources any reports about compromises of voter information or voting systems, and consider searching for other reliable sources before sharing such information via social media or other avenues.
Report potential election crimes—such as disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting—to the FBI.
If appropriate, make use of in-platform tools offered by social media companies for reporting suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voter information or voting systems.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / SDI Productions)
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