Election Integrity Fears in Europe Provoke Joint ExerciseCybersecurity and Deepfakes Are Major Concerns
Europeans' next vote for lawmakers in Brussels is less than 200 days away, stirring concerns about disinformation and security. European electoral and cybersecurity authorities on Tuesday held a joint exercise assessing plans to hold an incident-free election, weeks after trading bloc cybersecurity agency ENISA said the election is at risk from deepfake images and videos.
The exercise, hosted by the European officials with participation from national governments, assessed gaps in risk mitigation measures while evaluating crisis management plans as well as measures to prevent, detect, manage and respond to cybersecurity attacks and hybrid threats.
The exercise included several Computer Security Incident Response Teams or CSIRTs, data protection authorities and agencies responsible for enforcing the recently enacted Digital Services Act, intended to curb online disinformation.
European elections face threats "ranging from cyberattacks and other cyber-enabled incidents to disinformation and information manipulation," European Parliament Vice-President Dita Charanzová said. Participants tested the strength of "established structures, networks and collaborations" and sought to secure the upcoming election that is slated to be held from June 6 to June 9 next year.
ENISA in October warned that EU elections are at risk of a disinformation campaign powered by AI tools. Hackers and nation-state hackers could deploy deepfakes and AI-powered automated tools to spread disinformation. Deepfakes appeared this year in elections in Poland and Slovakia.
The report also says that groups aligned with Russia, Iran and China are likely to engage in disseminating fake news over social media platforms in the coming months. Cybersecurity researchers have independently flagged disinformation campaigns as a main risk posed by generative AI (see: Fake Out: Disinformation Campaigns Get Generative AI Boost).
In a similar report, the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center warned that threat actors are likely to take advantage of the developments in artificial intelligence to carry out attacks against electoral systems (see: UK NSCS Highlights Risks to Critical Infrastructure).