Have you been ‘election hacked’ without knowing it?

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Have you been ‘election hacked’ without knowing it? Six months ago I had a meeting with one of the foremost cybersecurity analysts from the US who told me about the incidents that were officially reported in connection to the presidential election in the US. She also told me about some of the incidents where the […]

Have you been ‘election hacked’ without knowing it?

Six months ago I had a meeting with one of the foremost cybersecurity analysts from the US who told me about the incidents that were officially reported in connection to the presidential election in the US. She also told me about some of the incidents where the government had been unable to confirm the parties responsible. The incidents were both regarding the election system itself and people connected to the election process (election workers, etc).

 As I focus on Sweden in general and governmental authorities in particular, I wanted to find out how sensitive we are to these kind of attacks. A few months ago, I spoke to Mikael Tofvesson of the authority MSB (within the Homeland Security domain). His unit is responsible for protecting the 2018 Swedish general election (in less than two weeks time). They made an analysis of how 20(!) different countries had been exposed to threats regarding general elections, initiated by the events in Ukraine in 2014. The analysis is open for the public to read. According to the FRA (Swedish equivalent of the NSA), Sweden is currently at (cyber) war with several nations. Cyber attacks toward Sweden as a nation are frequent. And yes, some countries and organizations are much more well-represented than others.  

 In the American election scenario, it was a mix of incidents connected to the actual IT system as well as attacking/compromising election workers and affecting general opinion. In Sweden, we’ve seen many examples of campaigns aimed at affecting general opinion, through ‘troll factories’. But will we in Sweden also see attacks and/or the compromising of election workers and cyber attacks against the Swedish election system (that is quite manual)? Difficult to say, but the latter is not very likely. What is common for most of the attacks/threats towards elections is that the antagonist has tried to find weaknesses and then exploit that weakness. Maybe Sweden’s weakness is how easily affected we are by digital media? Maybe you’ve been ‘election hacked’ without knowing it? We will maybe know after the Swedish election on the 9th of September (or not…).

 See you in cyber space!

 Gustaf Soderlund
Head of Government
Capgemini Sweden

 


 

Har du blivit hackad inför valet utan att du vet om det?

För ett halvår sedan hade jag ett möte med en av USAs främsta cybersäkerhets-analytiker som berättade för mig om de incidenter som rapporterats kopplat till amerikanska valet men hon berättade också om några av de incidenter som man inte kunnat verifiera exakt hur det gjorts eller vem som låg bakom. Incidenterna gällde både själva valsystemet och personer runtomkring.

För ett par månader sedan träffade jag Mikael Tofvesson från Myndigheten för Samhällsskydd och Beredskap. Han ansvarar bl a för skyddet av valet 2018 på MSB. De har gjort en analys över hur man försökt påverka val på olika sätt i runt 20 länder de senaste åren med ett första avstamp i Ukraina 2014. Analysen är öppen för allmänheten att läsa. Enligt FRA (Cyberförsvarsdagen 2018) skulle man kunna se det som att Sverige i dagsläget är i krig inom cyberområdet eftersom cyber-angrepp mot staten Sverige sker regelbundet. Och ja, vissa länder och organisationer är särskilt välrepresenterade bland antagonisterna.

I det amerikanska scenariot var det en mix av incidenter kopplat till själva IT-stödet, påverkan av valarbetare och yttre opinionspåverkan. I Sverige har vi sett exempel på yttre opinionspåverkan genom ex trollfabriker. Men, kommer vi också se mer av påverkanskampanjer (ex utpressning) mot valarbetare eller cyberattacker mot det svenska valsystemet (som är ganska manuellt)? Svårt att säga, men det senare är inte så troligt. Vad som är giltigt för de flesta riktade säkerhetsattacker är att man först försöker hitta en svaghet och sedan utnyttjar den. Kanske är Sveriges svaghet just hur lätt-påverkade vi är? Kanske du inte ens vet att du blivit ’hackad’?

Om du vill höra mer kring ämnet? I Almedalen hade vi en paneldebatt i ämnet (”Konsten att Hacka ett val”) med mig, Mikael Tofvesson från MSB, Lars Wilderäng (känd författare som driver bloggen Cornucopia), Karin Enström (M) och Katrin Stjernfeldt-Jammeh (S).

Vi ses och hörs i cyberrymden!

Gustaf Söderlund
Head of Government Sector
Capgemini Application Services

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