As November 13th, 2020 is fast approaching- a day when the United States will witness its 46th Election, federal authorities are worried that the Presidential Election Polls 2020 will be targeted by ransomware attacks either by adversaries or individuals seeking to make a fortune from the cyber crime.
In the past few months, especially after the Corona Virus Lockdown partially imposed in March’20, there has been a rise in cyber attacks on US federal agencies where hackers are seen making quick money by holding data as hostage.
FBI fears that such attacks could also target the operations of voting systems by infiltrating networks related or connected to it like the state electoral database or the 3rd party agencies maintaining them.
Security experts suggest that such attacks not only put a question mark on the integrity of elections to be held, but might also puncture the confidence among the voters who would like to see their favorable candidate win the elections.
To block such threats from turning into a reality, the Department of Homeland Security along with FBI has already issued an advisory to local governments forwarding measures for preventing such cyber attacks.
“From the standpoint of confidence in the system, it is much easier to disrupt a network than preventing it from operating and then changing votes,”, said Adam Hickey, the Deputy Assistant Attorney of Department of Justice.
He added that the scenario now has turned simple for cyber criminals as they can easily induce a malware into a network of voter election database and trigger it on/before the election date.
“We all know that cyber attacks undermined the election infrastructure in 2016 and we all know that the threat still looms as the techniques to launch might change”, says Jena Griswold, the Secretary of State for Colorado.
Supporting these claims is the December 2019 report released by Cybersecurity firm Emsisoft that claims that atleast 966 cyber attacks were launched last year on critical services such as 911 that either hindered police from making background checks or made the medical records for doctors inaccessible for weeks or even months.
Meanwhile, Geoff Hale, the election officer for Homeland Security stated that all critical infrastructures have been secured from cyber attacks through the proper channel and so the fear that the US 2020 Polls might get influenced or hacked should be weeded out.