Resecurity has identified a growing trend of malicious cyber-activity targeting sovereign elections globally
With more voters than ever in history heading to the polls in 2024, Resecurity has identified a growing trend of malicious cyber-activity targeting sovereign elections globally. In an era of unprecedented geopolitical volatility, this trend is particularly concerning, as Time Magazine notes that 64 countries (plus the European Union) are set to hold national elections this year. According to Time Magazine, “2024 is not just an election year. It’s perhaps the election year.”
Collectively, some two billion eligible voters represented in these races constitute roughly 49% of the global population. For many of these voters, the results of these elections “will prove consequential for years to come,” according to Time Magazine. By far, the most significant contest this year is the U.S. presidential election, the outcome of which could radically alter the destinies of geopolitical relations and military conflicts globally.
Besides the continued targeting of the U.S. and its allies, activity observed by Resecurity between 2023 and early 2024 indicates a 100 percent increase from the previous analysis period. This assessment is based on multiple incidents that Resecurity observed and reported to relevant authorities globally in the following jurisdictions: Africa, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Israel, Iraq, Turkey, and Mexico.
These types of incidents generally act as precursors for more significant malicious activity that can be further amplified by foreign interference campaigns. Besides cyberespionage, threat actors aim to sow uncertainty about the integrity of elections via operations that aim to disrupt and manipulate public opinion globally. Unfortunately, these incidents remain complicated from an investigation perspective and are often imperceptible to the public.
With the 2024 General Election rapidly approaching in the U.S., the intelligence collected about the incidents discussed in this report serves as a stark reminder that threat actors are actively trying to acquire and exploit voter data. While some of the threat actors behind these leak operations are purely motivated by profit and opportunistic hacktivism driven (by ideology), other cogs in this cybercriminal supply chain may be looking to weaponize voter data to craft targeted propaganda campaigns and subvert democracies worldwide.
Similar to the phenomenon of account compromise due to password reuse across multiple platforms, leaked voter data remains exploitable years after the initial leak.
This is one of the most crucial issues that governments should address. In the backdrop of rapidly increasing cyber-threats, ensuring comprehensive identity protection for voters has become foundational to preserving the integrity of the democratic process. Cyberespionage groups, operating under the direction of nation-state actors, are targeting voter PII, plotting to use it as a long-term weapon for electoral interference. This data reveals crucial demographic insights and context about target populations during both pre-election and post-election stages.
A detailed technical analysis of the activities targeting elections is available here:
(SecurityAffairs – Hacking, elections)