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Cyber threats to voting processes could slow but not prevent voting

featured graphic for the FBI during COVID-19

featured graphic for the FBI during COVID-19

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to inform the public that attempts by cyber actors to compromise election infrastructure could slow but not prevent voting. The FBI and CISA have not identified any incidents, to date, capable of preventing Americans from voting or changing vote tallies for the 2020 Elections. Any attempts tracked by FBI and CISA have remained localized and were blocked, minimal, or easily mitigated.

The FBI and CISA have no reporting to suggest cyber activity has prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, compromised the integrity of any ballots cast, or affected the accuracy of voter registration information. However, even if actors did achieve such an impact, the public should be aware that election officials have multiple safeguards and plans in place—such as provisional ballots to ensure registered voters can cast ballots, paper backups, and backup pollbooks—to limit the impact and recover from a cyber incident with minimal disruption to voting. The FBI and CISA continue to assess that attempts to manipulate votes at scale would be difficult to conduct undetected.

Nevertheless, cyber actors continue attempts against election systems that register voters or house voter registration information, manage non-voting election processes, or provide unofficial election night reporting. These attempts could render these systems temporarily inaccessible to election officials, which could slow, but would not prevent, voting or the reporting of results.

The FBI and CISA will continue to quickly respond to potential threats, provide recommendations to harden election infrastructure, notify stakeholders of threats and intrusion activity, and impose risks and consequences on cyber actors seeking to threaten US elections.
Recommendations

The FBI is responsible for investigating and prosecuting election crimes, malign foreign influence operations and malicious cyber activity targeting election infrastructure and other U.S. democratic institutions. CISA helps critical infrastructure owners and operators, including those in the election community, remain resilient against physical and cyber threats. The FBI and CISA provide services and information to uphold the security, integrity, and resiliency of the U.S. electoral processes.

This article was released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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