The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in a public service announcement says that cyber activity attempting to compromise election infrastructure is unlikely to cause a massive disruption or prevent voting.
The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) assessed the associated risks over time, and neither agency has seen evidence of malicious interference having any measurable impact.
“As of the date of this report, the FBI and CISA have no reporting to suggest 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,” PSA from the FBI and CISA
“Any attempts tracked by FBI and CISA have remained localized and were blocked or successfully mitigated with minimal or no disruption to election processes,” the two agencies says in the report.
The announcement further explains that election officials are empowered by a set of technological tools and strict procedural controls that greatly mitigate the likelihood of phishing, denial of service, domain spoofing, or ransomware attacks that may affect the voting process in any way.
This includes the availability of voting systems, the confidentiality of the votes, and the integrity of the election infrastructure.
Some of the mentioned fail-safes include provisional ballots and backup pollbooks, logic and accuracy testing on the voting systems, and conducting extensive post-election audits.
In conclusion, the FBI and CISA state that manipulating votes in a meaningful way would be difficult to pass undetected.
For example, CISA issued an advisory in June 2022 about vulnerabilities impacting Dominion voting systems used across the U.S. for casting in-person votes.
Exploiting these flaws would require physical access to the devices, access to the Election Management System (EMS), or the ability to perform supply chain attacks to modify the files before the operating system images are loaded onto ImageCastX devices.
Technical, physical, and operational controls that are in place prevent any exploitation of the discovered flaws, and so their malicious use would be limited only to spreading or amplifying exaggerated claims about the security of these machines.
Fair elections are the foundation of democracy, and baseless claims of electoral fraud are a threat to the principles of government system.
FBI’s announcement serves as an assertion of trust and aims to instill voters confidence in the country’s election infrastructure.
As for what people can do to protect themselves from potential attempts of election-related fraud, the FBI has issued the following recommendations:
Use official state and local government portals to source information about voter registration, polling locations, voting by mail, provisional ballot process, and final election results.
Remain alert to election-related schemes which may attempt to impede election administration.
Be wary of emails or phone calls that make suspicious claims about the election process or social media posts that appear to spread inconsistent information about election-related incidents or results.
Do not respond to unsolicited email senders, open attachments from unknown individuals, or provide personal information via email.
Verify through multiple, reliable sources any reports about compromises of voter information or
voting systems, and avoid sharing such information via social media before checking.
Be cautious with websites not affiliated with local or state government that solicit voting information,
like voter registration information.
Report potential crimes—such as cyber targeting of voting systems—to your local FBI Field Office.
Report cyber-related incidents on election infrastructure to your local election officials and CISA (Central@CISA.gov).
The biggest threat to the election process are influence operations that try to corrupt the integrity of the deliberation. Discussions or messages on social media and forums that deliver unfounded and unverified arguments and facts are typical means to changing a voter’s opinion.