Foreign spies hijacking US mid-terms? FBI, CISA are cool as cucumbers about it

I think we can handle one little Russia. We sent two units, they're bringing any attempts down now

The FBI and the US government's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) claim any foreign interference in the 2022 US midterm elections is unlikely to disrupt or prevent voting, compromise ballot integrity, or manipulate votes at scale.

Per a public service announcement [PDF], the agencies have found zero evidence to suggest cyber nasties have yet created the forms of disruption mentioned above, nor has such an effort managed to affect the accuracy of voter registration information. So far.

That doesn't mean miscreants – foreign or domestic – haven't tried (or won't try) to interfere, but they haven't succeeded. Instead, the agencies said, such attempts were localized efforts, and were blocked or mitigated "with minimal or no disruption to election processes."

Also, we aren't idiots

Despite popular narratives in some political circles that the 2020 US election was insecure and fraudulent, there hasn't been any evidence to back that, the FBI, CISA, and anyone with a brain said.

The agencies also took the time to explain how US election systems are secured using "a variety of technological, physical, and procedural controls to mitigate the likelihood of malicious cyber activity" that could affect "election infrastructure systems or data that would alter votes or otherwise disrupt or prevent voting."

Multiple failsafe measures are in place, they said, including provisional ballots, backup poll books and voting malfunction prevention systems like logic and accuracy testing, chain of custody procedures and audits.

"Given the extensive safeguards in place and distributed nature of election infrastructure, the FBI and CISA continue to assess that attempts to manipulate votes at scale would be difficult to conduct undetected," the agencies said. 

In short, when it comes to knowing what interference in election infrastructure looks like, the FBI and CISA want US citizens to know what they're looking for.

Election systems that house voter registration information or manage non-voting election processes have been a continual and popular target, the agencies said. Those systems can be used to glean information about voters and let bad actors spread claims that election systems have been compromised, the FBI and CISA said, but noted that "these attempts would not prevent voting or the accurate reporting of results."

Twitter, TikTok, Google and YouTube have all publicized plans to prevent misinformation from proliferating on their platforms in the run-up to the 2022 US midterms, which mostly revolve around automatic flagging, de-promoting and removal of problematic content.

Those plans have upset some, with commentators on the "election fraud" side of the debate calling the efforts anti-conservative censorship and election interference. ®

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