Route Fifty: FBI to Alert States About Local Election System Hacks

Route Fifty: FBI to Alert States About Local Election System Hacks. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday it will begin informing state election officials when local election systems are hacked, a policy change intended to improve cybersecurity coordination and address concerns state leaders have raised about transparency.”

Rolling Stone: Hackers Are Coming for the 2020 Election — And We’re Not Ready

Rolling Stone: Hackers Are Coming for the 2020 Election — And We’re Not Ready. “Four years ago, for an embarrassingly modest price, Russia pulled off one of the more audacious acts of election interference in modern history. The Internet Research Agency, the team of Kremlin-backed online propagandists, spent $15 million to $20 million and wreaked havoc on the psyche of the American voter, creating the impression that behind every Twitter avatar or Facebook profile was a Russian troll. Russian intelligence agents carried out the digital version of Watergate, infiltrating the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, stealing tens of thousands of emails, and weaponizing them in the days and weeks before the election.”

Ars Technica: A Georgia election server was vulnerable to Shellshock and may have been hacked

Ars Technica: A Georgia election server was vulnerable to Shellshock and may have been hacked. “Forensic evidence shows signs that a Georgia election server may have been hacked ahead of the 2016 and 2018 elections by someone who exploited Shellshock, a critical flaw that gives attackers full control over vulnerable systems, a computer security expert said in a court filing on Thursday.”

NPR: Despite Election Security Fears, Iowa Caucuses Will Use New Smartphone App

NPR: Despite Election Security Fears, Iowa Caucuses Will Use New Smartphone App. “Iowa’s Democratic Party plans to use a new Internet-connected smartphone app to help calculate and transmit results during the state’s caucuses next month, Iowa Public Radio and NPR have confirmed. Party leaders say they decided to opt for that strategy fully aware of three years’ worth of warnings about Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election, in which cyberattacks played a central role.”

‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020 (New York Times)

New York Times: ‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020. “American defenses have vastly improved in the four years since Russian hackers and trolls mounted a broad campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election. Facebook is looking for threats it barely knew existed in 2016, such as fake ads paid for in rubles and self-proclaimed Texas secessionists logging in from St. Petersburg. Voting officials are learning about bots, ransomware and other vectors of digital mischief…. Yet interviews with dozens of officials and experts make clear that many of the vulnerabilities exploited by Moscow in 2016 remain.”

New York Times: Buckle Up for Another Facebook Election

New York Times: Buckle Up for Another Facebook Election. “The social network has spent much of the past three years apologizing for its inaction during the 2016 election, when its platform was overrun with hyperpartisan misinformation, some of it Russian, that was amplified by its own algorithms. And ahead of 2020, some people wondered if Mr. Zuckerberg — who is, by his own admission, uncomfortable with Facebook’s power — would do everything he could to step out of the political crossfire. Instead, Mr. Zuckerberg has embraced Facebook’s central role in elections — not only by giving politicians a pass on truth, but by preserving the elements of its advertising platforms that proved to be a decisive force in 2016.”

The Atlantic: Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It

The Atlantic: Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It. “Presidential-campaign season is officially, officially, upon us now, which means it’s time to confront the weird and insidious ways in which technology is warping politics. One of the biggest threats on the horizon: Artificial personas are coming, and they’re poised to take over political debate. The risk arises from two separate threads coming together: artificial-intelligence-driven text generation and social-media chatbots. These computer-generated ‘people’ will drown out actual human discussions on the internet.”