Home Daily Brief FBI Warns Cyber Criminals, Foreign Actors Spreading ‘False Claims’ About U.S. Voting To Undermine 2020 Election

FBI Warns Cyber Criminals, Foreign Actors Spreading ‘False Claims’ About U.S. Voting To Undermine 2020 Election

FBI Warns Cyber Criminals, Foreign Actors Spreading ‘False Claims’ About U.S. Voting To Undermine 2020 Election
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As President Trump continues to ramp up attacks on the reliability of mail-in voting in the 2020 election, two government security agencies issued a public service announcement on Monday warning of cyberattacks spreading “false claims” about compromised voter registration databases and voting systems in attempts to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral process.

Key Facts

In a joint statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said foreign actors and cyber criminals have been spreading false and inconsistent information through various online platforms “in an attempt to manipulate public opinion, discredit the electoral process and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.”

These “malicious actors,” the PSA warns, may have been circulating false claims that successful cyber operations have compromised the election’s infrastructure.

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These claims are false, the two agencies say, and reports of “hacking” or “leaking” U.S. voter registration data should be ignored as much of this information can already be obtained through publicly available sources.

Plus, the acquisition of this data in the past has not impacted the voting process or the integrity of the election’s results, per the agencies.

Though the FBI and CISA do not offer exact information on what these attacks consist of, their PSA comes amidst efforts by President Trump to sow distrust in mail-in voting and, subsequently, the election’s outcome.

Crucial Quote

“The FBI and CISA have no information suggesting any cyberattack on U.S. election infrastructure has prevented an election from occurring, compromised the accuracy of voter registration information, prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, or compromised the integrity of any ballots cast,” the PSA reads.

Key Background

As recently as Monday morning, President Trump continued to insist that the election’s results will be marred by problems with mail-in voting, relied upon heavily this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Many things are already going very wrong!” the president tweeted on Monday, alleging: “The Ballots being returned to States cannot be accurately counted.” Last week, reports that a “small number” of ballots in Pennsylvania had been discarded fueled the president’s accusations that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud and a “rigged” election. These attacks have spurred mounting concern that President Trump will not accept the results of the election and peacefully transfer power if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that Trump will accept the results of a “free and fair” election.

Further Reading

“Pennsylvania Discarded Ballot Mishap Fuels Trump Attacks On Mail-In Voting” (Forbes)

“Trump Won’t Commit To Peaceful Power Transfer, Says ‘Get Rid Of The Ballots’ For ‘Continuation’ Of His Presidency” (Forbes)

 

This article was written by Jemima McEvoy from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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