Disinformation Now the Top Concern Following …


After an Election Day without foreign interference and cyberattacks, security experts turn their focus to disinformation.

Election Day was a relatively quiet one for cybersecurity news, but officials remain on high alert for nefarious activity as the vote count continues. Disinformation is top of mind among federal officials and security experts keeping a vigilant watch for both foreign and domestic activity.

In a media call held on Nov. 3, senior officials at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) expressed confidence that the voter count was not affected but emphasized “we’re not out of the woods yet” when it comes to election-related security threats. While foreign activity has so far been lower than in 2016, the attack surface and potential for disinformation and foreign interference extends into the next month.

Partners with the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a coalition of research entities with the goal of detecting and mitigating election-related threats, explained specific instances of disinformation spotted in the 2020 election during a briefing held on Nov. 4. Throughout the night of Nov. 3, they noticed disinformation amplify following tweets from President Trump and his supporters. 

Some of these posts related to claims of ballot fraud, irregularities around in-person voting, and reports from polling stations, said Camille Francois, CIO of Graphika NY. After the president’s late-night speech, they noticed an uptick in related conversations, as well as an increase in “stop the steal” messages and hashtags across social media platforms. Around 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., they saw upticks in conversations around the potential for offline violence.

“This has been very high on our monitoring priorities and we’re going to continue looking for those,” Francois noted. There were a handful of accounts affiliated with Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) pushing stories throughout the night, but these gained little traction. 

“We haven’t seen any significant incident of foreign disinformation throughout the night,” she added. The team was also watching messages from Russian and Iranian state-sponsored media, which mostly pushed messages stating the US…

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