CISA Cyber Chief Warns Political Candidates ‘Everybody’s a Potential Target’
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is warning that all candidates in every official election, including federal, state and local elections, are potential targets for cyberattacks aimed at influencing the campaign and the results.
The agency, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security and is in charge of securing elections in the US, aims to help both major and low-profile candidates secure their campaign infrastructure to prevent election meddling by local and foreign threat actors. As Jeanette Manfra of the CISA explained: “I don’t care if you think you’re not interesting or your information is not interesting,” because “[w]hen it comes to elections, anybody can be a target.”
The 2016 US presidential elections saw Russian hackers and other foreign threat actors influence the campaign by spreading fake news and launching cyberattacks on key targets like the Democratic National Committee (DNC), resulting in a massive leak of confidential DNC emails that hurt the Clinton campaign. The 2018 midterms were also affected by influence efforts, but to a lesser extent.