Survey shows AI generated disinformation, phishing attacks top concerns for 2024 election

WASHINGTON D.C. — There are new threats facing the ballot box this election year.

A recent survey from the cyber firm, Arctic Wolf, reveals many officials are worried about how artificial intelligence could be used to manipulate voters.

This comes as election administrators described potential AI-generated scenarios during a congressional hearing last fall. This includes the possibility of deepfakes spreading inaccurate information about polling places or hours.

“Social media alone has the capacity to spread these kinds of deepfakes and lies far and wide with alarming speed,” said Adrian Fontes, Arizona Secretary of State.

For this survey, Arctic Wolf polled more than 130 state and local government officials - most of whom work in IT and security systems.

The results reveal major concerns over AI-powered threats like disinformation campaigns and phishing attacks targeting election workers.

“Now with these tools, it’s never been easier for someone to create realistic looking articles, they can use deep fake technology to fake voices, even video,” said Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at Arctic Wolf. “Gone are the days when you’re looking for spelling error or grammar mistakes or bad logo.”

Marrè said while many officials know about these potential threats, more than half of them feel unprepared or only somewhat prepared to detect and recover from targeted cyber incidents. He believes training is key.

“Making sure that the election workers and government workers are prepared for, that they understand it, they know that that’s what the attacks look like now, they can be better prepared, said Marrè.

Some state officials are also taking steps to combat potential misinformation.

“We’re livestreaming equipment certification with bipartisan observers, we’re protecting our voter registration databases from ai generated attacks,” said Fontes.

This survey also shows only half of these government leaders say their team has received specialized election cybersecurity awareness training.

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