AI-Generated Misinformation - A Growing Concern For 2024 Elections

With less than a month to go until the British General Election and political campaigning well under way up and down the country, there are growing concerns about potential attempts to manipulate voters online. 

Campaigns are running the risk of being breached, exposing personal data, experiencing a financial impact and more, all which could have a negative effect on entire campaign’s credibility.

Cyber security and trust are a top focus around the world in 2024 elections. In  particular, concerns around the use of AI-generated content are coming to prominence ahead of the British parliamentary election. 

According to David Treece, vice president of solutions architecture at Yubico “Because campaigns are built on trust, potential hacks like fraudulent emails or messages sent out impersonating candidates or parties via their social media accounts where they are directly interacting with their audience, could be detrimental to campaigns...

“It’s imperative that candidates take proper steps to protect their campaign and more importantly, to build trust with voters, by adopting modern cyber security practices like multi-factor authentication. Adding a physical layer of security with a hardware security key to online accounts is a crucial component to ensuring that campaigns remain secure.” Treece said. 

According to Yubico's  recent US election survey ' Defending Digital Campaigns and One Poll' which looks at the impact of AI in this election season, 43 per cent of respondents believe that AI-generated content will negatively affect the outcome of the 2024 elections. Furthermore, 52 per cent have already received an email and/or text message appearing to be from a campaign that they suspected was actually a phishing attempt. 

Other Key Findings Include:  

  • 85 per cent of respondents do not have a high level of confidence that political campaigns effectively protect the personal information they collect.
  • Nearly half (42 per cent) of registered voters would like to see campaigns and candidates take precautions to prevent their websites from being hacked.
  • Over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents indicated they have not completed a transaction making a campaign donation because of concerns about the security of the transaction or how their personal information would be handled

As Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) enabled capabilities become more widely adopted, it is important for election officials to understand how these capabilities could impact the security and integrity of election infrastructure. 

According to a new report from the US cybersecurity agency CISA, GenAI capabilities present many  opportunities for increased productivity, potentially enhancing both election security and election administration. 

However, these same capabilities also carry the increased potential for greater harm, as malicious actors, including foreign nation state actors and cybercriminals, could leverage these same capabilities for nefarious purposes.

Images:  Allison Saeng & Ideogram

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