WASHINGTON – US intelligence and other intelligence officials said opponents of the country were stepping up efforts to interfere in the upcoming US presidential election, and made it clear less than a month before the vote that the nature of the threats could change.
The FBI posted a video on social media describing the dual nature of the threats. They can be expressed in influence operations aimed at changing the way of thinking of voters when filling out ballots, as well as in intensified attacks on election infrastructure, which officials did not previously attach much importance to.
“There is no doubt that opponents are trying to undermine our democracy and democratic values as we approach the elections,” said William Evanina, director of the National Center for Counterintelligence and Security.
“The main target is the American voter,” he added. “Foreign actors are spreading misinformation and trying to influence voters.”
At the same time, Evanina, the head of US counterintelligence, also warned that foreign opponents were trying to infiltrate American voting systems.
“They are taking a number of cyberspace actions to gain access to our electoral infrastructure,” he said in the video, refusing to rule out the possibility that some of these attacks could be successful, even on a limited scale.
At the same time, Evanina noted: “It will be very difficult for opponents to interfere with the voting results or manipulate them on a large scale. Our electoral systems are still stable. ”
So far, US officials have blamed most attempts to hack or disrupt critical electoral systems on unnamed cyber entities that did not appear to be guided by adversaries such as Russia, China or Iran.
To protect against such incursions, American electoral authorities have installed special sensors to monitor cyber activity in real time in all 50 states and more than 2,500 local jurisdictions.
In late September, these scanners began to detect signs of possible impending action.
“While we have no evidence that foreign governments are targeting electoral infrastructure, we know and continue to see scan reports,” Matt Masterson, senior election security adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, said at an online event in September.
“The question keeps me awake at night: are we missing something? Is there something we are not tracking? ” – he said.