Claims that U.S. voter registration rolls have been hacked and leaked are false and were created by malicious actors trying to spread disinformation ahead of the 2020 election, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said Monday.
In a press release published on the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, the agencies said they have "no information suggesting any cyberattack on U.S. election infrastructure," and added that registration rolls or any ballots already cast have not been compromised.
The FBI says foreign actors and cybercriminals are spreading false reports about cyberattacks affecting election integrity in "an attempt to manipulate public opinion, discredit the electoral process, and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions."
According to the press release, U.S. voter information is publicly available and can be purchased, and while hackers have obtained some of that information in the past, the data "did not impact the voting process or the integrity of election results."
Ahead of the 2016 election, Russia used social media to create politically-oriented groups and spread misinformation. The FBI has warned that Russia and other countries are attempting to do the same thing in 2020.
In order to avoid misinformation online, the FBI suggests:
- Seeking out information from trustworthy sources, verifying who produced the content, and considering their intent.
- Relying on state and local election officials for information about voter registration databases and voting systems.
- Viewing early, unverified claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.
- Verifying through multiple reliable sources any reports about compromises of voter information or voting systems, and consider searching for other reliable sources before sharing such information via social media or other avenues.
- Reporting potential election crimes — such as disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting — to the FBI.
- Making use of in-platform tools offered by social media companies for reporting suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voter information or voting systems.