The 2020 US elections lived up to the expectations – they were vocal, temperamental, and caught the entire world’s attention. Prior to the elections, there were many rumors and speculations about the possibility of foreign powers interfering with the process via cyber means.
As far as we can tell at this moment (a week after the elections) – this did not happen. So what can we learn from these elections about cybersecurity?
Foreign Powers Can and Do Intervene in Other Nations’ Elections
Even if direct interference with voting didn’t occur this time, it is clear that it is possible to interfere and manipulate the elections using cyber means. Cyber operations against elections can be grouped into several categories:
- Operations aimed at influencing the voters: social media and PSYOP, targeted ads and influence, misinformation, fake news.
- Operations aimed at discrediting political parties: targeted hacking of political parties and prominent politicians, the release of sensitive materials, extortion.
- Operations aimed at interfering or manipulating the voting process: targeted hacking of voting machines, attacks against the voting committees’ websites and servers.