Americans Plagued by Unsolicited Election Texts
With early voting for the US presidential election now underway, more than half of Americans have been sent unsolicited text messages from political candidates hoping to secure their vote.
According to freshly published research by cybersecurity company Avira, 59% of Americans have received unwanted direct communication from political candidates, and 61% say wireless carriers should block political text messages as spam.
In September, Avira surveyed 2,000 citizens from Germany, Hong Kong, and the United States about their feelings toward upcoming elections.
The survey found Americans lack confidence that the electoral race currently being run in the US by two septuagenarians is being conducted in a manner that is entirely above board. While nearly half (44%) said the presidential election would be "free but not entirely fair," 17% said it would be "rigged."
Just under a quarter (24%) were of the opinion that the process for selecting the next president will be "free and fair."
Asked how they believe the election will be disrupted, 50% of respondents said that misinformation would be spread on social media, while 46% said the same thing would occur on mainstream media.
Foreign interference in the election was anticipated by just 14% of those surveyed, while 37% were expecting fraud to occur regarding mail-in ballots.
The research found that cyber-criminals have been exploiting what Senator Bernie Sanders has described as "the most important election of our lifetimes." Over half (55%) of Americans surveyed said that they have encountered a scam related to the election, with fake news being the most reported, followed by robocalls.
Nuisance robocalls are a major issue in the US, with nearly 120 million calls received a day by Americans in August alone.
“The unfortunate truth is, there are criminals in the world that take advantage of pivotal moments, such as national elections, to bribe, intimidate and fool people online to make a profit,” said Travis Witteveen, CEO of Avira.
“Our survey shows that people are becoming more aware of these threats—such as election scams and misinformation—but the cyber community has more work to do to help people across the world understand how to protect themselves online.”