Attempts by cybercriminals to influence elections by compromising infrastructure are unlikely to affect voting or the results, FBI and CISA conclude.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) note that no currently existing reports suggest that “cyber activity has ever prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, compromised the integrity of any ballots cast, or affected the accuracy of voter registration information.”
Any registered cyber activity targeting voting was localized and efficiently blocked or mitigated, according to the agencies’ report.
FBI and CISA go on to explain how election officials mitigate potential cybercrime attempts.
“These include failsafe measures, such as provisional ballots and backup pollbooks, and safeguards that protect against voting malfunctions (e.g., logic and accuracy testing, chain of custody procedures, paper ballots, and post-election audits),” the report explains.
While threat actors continue targeting election systems that store personal data and spread rumors of successful compromises, none of this will affect the accuracy of results or prevent voting, the agencies say.
Earlier this year, CISA disclosed that there are vulnerabilities in election technology used in at least 16 states but claimed that those vulnerabilities haven’t been exploited.
Additionally, even if threat actors can’t directly influence the results of elections, they still can prey on unsuspecting users. An analysis of 186 US election-related apps found that 152 of them were deemed fraudulent or malicious.
Russia was found to target the voter registration systems, as well as state websites, and stole voter information in at least 21 US states prior to the 2016’s elections. This amounted to data on at least 500,000 voters.
The Kremlin’s hackers also managed to access restricted elements of election infrastructure, which could’ve allowed them to manipulate votes, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. Despite this, US intelligence agencies have reached the conclusion that no votes were actually altered by Russian threat actors during the 2016 elections.
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