The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is looking to bolster its efforts to fight disinformation leading up to the 2024 Presidential Election.
According to Cyberscoop, CISA director Jen Easterly said that the danger of disinformation has become an ‘incredibly difficult problem’.
CISA has already taken a number of steps to tackling this problem, including bringing in Kim Wyman – former Secretary of State of Washington – into CISA to strengthen its election work. Wyman was a Republican.
Easterly said, “We recognize this is not a partisan issue. Where I fear that the system will break down in a spectacular way is if CISA all of a sudden becomes a partisan agency.”
Cyberscoop noted that the threat landscape has evolved considerably since the election of President Biden in 2020. Coming out of 2016 and 2018, DHS and CISA officials were most concerned about cybersecurity issues. However, Easterly noted that this has changed.
She commented, “Now the threat landscape is far more complicated. We’re still concerned about the cybersecurity side, of course, but we are [also] concerned about insider threats and we are focused on threats of misinformation and disinformation.”
The Agency has expanded its information operations team and has recently hired Maria Barsallo Lynch from Harvard University.
Furthermore, threats of physical violence against election workers has recently surged, a problem that Easterly claims she is ‘very concerned about’ and considers to be the single biggest change since 2020.
Easterly believes the upcoming midterms and 2024 elections ‘will be a very challenging time’. In anticipation of it, CISA said it is reaching out to US Secretaries of State to work more closely with local election officials to equip them with tools to beat back disinformation.
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