Experts Warn 2024 Elections Will Be Biggest Cyberattack Targets

“In the biggest global election year in history, democracy is the primary target of nation-state threat actors," the co-founder of cybersecurity firm Armis says.

Samara Lynn
clock • 3 min read
Experts Warn 2024 Elections Will Be Biggest Cyberattack Targets

Global elections in 2024 will become the biggest targets for cyberattacks from nation-state threat actors, a new report predicts. 

Armis, an asset intelligence cybersecurity company, conducted a study of over 2,000 global IT decision-makers and data from its own labs. The company released its findings in its report, The Invisible Front Line: AI Powered Cyber Threats Illuminate the Dark Side

Some key takeaways from the report include:

- 30 percent of global IT leaders believe cyberwarfare could affect the integrity of elections. 

- 42 percent believe cyberwarfare will target the media. 

- 60 percent said their digital transformation plans have stalled or stopped because of cybersecurity risks. 

- 45 percent said they had to report an act of cyberwarfare to the authorities.

According to Armis Labs, threats are likely to come from nation-state actors affiliated with Russia, North Korea, Iran and China and they will use artificial intelligence to enhance their attacks. 

"In the biggest global election year in history, democracy is the primary target of nation-state threat actors," said Nadir Izrael, CTO and co-founder of Armis, in a statement. "Make no mistake - we are in a cyber arms race against our adversaries and society as we know it is at risk. It's essential that we immediately shift from a reactive to a proactive, defensive stance before it's too late." 

MES recently spoke with Gil Messing, an executive from cybersecurity company CheckPoint, who also voiced concerns about security and upcoming elections. 

"Forty percent of the world population will go to elections," this year, Messing said. He said CheckPoint research shows that AI will be used to disrupt elections "especially at the last few days of the election when there is a lot of regulation of what a candidate can or cannot do."

Deep fakes will be a big problem, he said, since they are difficult to distinguish from reality. 

"I think we're just at the tip of the iceberg of understanding what this is going to do to our democracies," he added. 

CheckPoint, which has conducted extensive research into election security, posted a few of its own findings in a blog post. One finding shows that AI is already used often now in political campaigning, not just by nation-state threat actors, but also by candidates for promotional reasons or to defame an opponent. 

CheckPoint's findings also show that audio deep fakes are used more frequently than ones created with images and video. On the positive side, "functioning democracies report fewer instances of domestic exploitation of AI-generated disinformation," CheckPoint researchers found. 

"Relying on legacy technologies and manual security processes is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight, given the threats we're up against and the arsenal of nation-state actors," Armis' Izrael said. "It is critical that security leaders fight fire with fire, leveraging AI-powered solutions that empower them with actionable intelligence before a vulnerability is announced, before an attack is launched and before their organization is impacted. Forewarned is forearmed."

For more about cybersecurity, register for MES Computing's live webcast, The Impact and Security Implications of AI on your Business, April 18 at 1 PM ET. 

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