UK polls ‘guinea pig’ for election security amid rise in cyber crimes

UK polls 'guinea pig' for election security amid rise in cyber crimes

The UK general elections scheduled for July 4 might become a ‘guinea pig’ for poll security as the country witnesses a rise in cyber attacks. The primary threat is anticipated to come from state actors, with the UK having already issued alerts regarding China and Russia.
“It’s misinformation, it’s disruption of parties, it’s leakage of data and attacking specific individuals,” Ram Elboim, cyber-security firm Sygnia head said.
Elboim noted that the UK holds an edge over the United States, which is scheduled to hold Presidential elections in November, because of the brief period between announcing and conducting elections, leaving attackers minimal time to devise and carry out their plans.
Cyber attacks may create ‘internal instability or chaos’
Cautioning that the attacks might “public feeling”, Ram Elboim, head of cyber-security firm Sygnia said, “It’s misinformation, it’s disruption of parties, it’s leakage of data and attacking specific individuals.”
“The main things are maybe to promote specific candidates or agendas,” Elboim said.
“The second is creating some kind of internal instability or chaos, something that will impact the public feeling,” he added.
Bot farms, deepfakes, major concern
Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative party leader, has alleged that Chinese state actors impersonated him online by sending fabricated emails to politicians globally.
Calling the upcoming elections a “guinea pig” for poll security, Bruce Snell, cyber-security strategist said, “The levels of potential for fakery are just tremendous. It’s something that we definitely didn’t have in the last election.”
Talking about the risks related to bot farms, Snell said, “The bots used to be really easy to spot. You’d see things like the same message being repeated and parroted by multiple accounts.”
“But with the sophistication of AI now… it’s very easy to generate a bot farm that can have 1,000 bots and every one have a varying style of communication,” he added.
Traditional cyber-attacks riskier than AI
While AI dominates much of the media attention, traditional cyber-attacks continue to pose a significant threat.
Cautioning against the weaponisation of AI, Agnes Callamard, head of Amnesty International had said in April, “These rogue and unregulated technological advances pose an enormous threat to us all. They can be weaponised to discriminate, disinform and divide.”

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