AI may spur disinformation campaigns, phishing about US 2024 elections – Report

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STATE and local officials are worried that Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and other emerging technologies may be used to spread disinformation and power phishing attacks in U.S. 2024 elections, an election security survey released by Arctic Wolf has shown.

The report, which was released on January 9, 2024 by the cybersecurity firm, shows that more than 130 state and local government leaders including officials responsible for IT systems and cybersecurity to gauge their views on election security.

The survey found that “more than half of respondents reported they are not at all prepared or somewhat prepared to detect and recover from election-targeted cyber incidents.”

A number of officials expressed particular concern that the election cyber threat landscape in 2024 will be even worse than during the 2020 election cycle, with respondents saying that resourcing and staffing limitations are exacerbated by the risks posed by AI tools.

“Adding to the feelings of unpreparedness is that election officials and administrators are expecting a significant uptick in the volume of attacks compared to what they saw in 2020, with almost half (47.1%) expecting an increase, while less than 3% (2.9%) believe they will see a decrease,” the survey said. 

The study found that nearly 51 per cent of state and local government respondents named disinformation campaigns as a top election cyber concern.

Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at Arctic Wolf, said the results of the survey showed that emerging technologies pose unfamiliar challenges for election officials. 

“We can point to the rise of advanced AI tools and the feeling of underpreparedness to the growing concerns of phishing attacks and the spread of disinformation.

“The novelty of these AI tools and their potential to impact elections is something many respondents may not be prepared to face,” Marrè said.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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