There’s a lot to talk about in the political world right now. In the United States, we’re on the cusp of a huge election and the opinions are strong. We aren’t here to discuss that side of politics; we’re here to look at how cybersecurity factors into this election process and how it affects all of us, regardless of which “side” you fall on.
What Are the Factors?
Foreign hackers are a problem with cybercrime and the voting process has only increased their interest and role in the equation. This may be seen in false and fraudulent online ads on social media or other websites. The goal is for them to have an influence on your decision, this isn’t necessarily where they are hoping to steal your identity – just manipulate how you view certain situations.
The voting process, where and how you cast your ballot, has a very small likelihood of fraud happening. Officials from the FBI and the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are letting voters know that hackers can instill fear in your minds that they have affected or changed the voting records, but in truth, that is unlikely to happen. At the state level, there are measures implemented that monitor the networks for cyberattacks and regular check-ins for potential threats and assessment of vulnerabilities.
What about mail-in ballots? Your ballot can be tracked in some if not all states to put your mind at ease with this. The likelihood of fraud is extremely unlikely and mail-in ballots have been safely submitted for 150 years.
There will always be factors that we didn’t account for or suspicions that arise without a full explanation, but the bottom line is that the odds are in your favor to safely vote in whichever way you choose to do so. As with so many things in today’s world, the biggest threat to the process or situation is misinformation and that means trusting that what you see or read online is legitimate, safe, and true. Like you research your candidate or issue before the voting, pause, and take a moment to research the source of information that you are trusting.