FBI Issues Warning Over US Election Disinformation Campaigns
The US government has been forced to sound the alarm over anticipated attempts by hostile nations and cyber-criminals to spread disinformation around the results of the 2020 elections.
In a new Public Service Announcement on Tuesday, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned that “foreign actors and cyber-criminals” could use several channels to undermine confidence in the democratic process, including new and defaced websites and social media posts.
“State and local officials typically require several days to weeks to certify elections’ final results in order to ensure every legally cast vote is accurately counted. The increased use of mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 protocols could leave officials with incomplete results on election night,” it explained.
“Foreign actors and cyber-criminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyber-attacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud, and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”
The alert urged the US public to get their news only from trusted sources of verified information, such as state and local election officials.
The process of counting votes could be dragged out even longer thanks to new policies rolled out by Trump appointee and new head of the Postal Service (USPS) Louis DeJoy, which some reports have claimed are already causing major delivery delays.
Any misinformation campaigns would only have to echo the sentiments of the President himself to undermine faith in the democratic process: Trump has claimed repeatedly without evidence that mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud.
The FBI/CISA urged US voters to: be more critical when reading news about the election results, verify with multiple reliable sources, including state and local government election officials and make use of social media tools designed to flag fake news if they spot anything suspicious.