It was reported that ahead of the German elections in September, the BfV is expecting an increase in cyber attacks against German MPs to spread misinformation. Steve Forbes, the Government Cyber Security Expert at Nominet, comments on election security below.
Steve Forbes, Government Cyber Security Expert at Nominet:
“The latest warnings from the head of BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, hit at the heart of democracy, as cyber-attacks threaten to spread misinformation that could undermine public confidence in the government, specific parties and candidates.
“In this type of attack, common hacking techniques are used to access information that may be used or manipulated to assert influence over an election campaign. Often amounting to fake news or in other cases exposing sensitive information, the hackers publish content and the victim is left defending their position publicly, while opponents continue to mount campaigns against them.
“It would not be the first time this type of attack has happened and we’ve seen alleged interference by foreign intelligence agencies across Europe and the US before. As it becomes more prevalent, however, It does change the dynamics of elections. There are a few important jobs we need to do to mitigate the impact of these types of hacking activities. Firstly, in terms of making the public aware that these types of activities take place, so that they can be vigilant to fake news and look to reputable sources for their information. Secondly, reducing phishing activity, both with technical solutions and through good cyber hygiene. Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility and following best practices such as only using approved and protected systems for all election matters should be a bare minimum. Finally, through collaboration across countries and between industry and governments; intelligence needs to be pooled and response aligned. Ultimately, removing foreign influence through cyber attacks on elections is a difficult job, one that goes beyond the technology.”
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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922