Deep fakes, phishing attacks, misinformation could mislead the electorate

It is time for general elections so as the time for cyber frauds. As the country gears up for election campaign, hackers sharpen their tools to lure people into scam and to mislead them. Phishing attacks, masquerading as legitimate entities, lure unsuspecting individuals into disclosing personal data or clicking malicious links, thereby compromising their security, and undermining the integrity of the electoral system.

“The danger of cyber scams during election campaigns demands heightened awareness and proactive measures. Deep fakes, fake calls and survey spamming can issue false information that results in intimidating the voters by potentially influencing their perceptions and decisions,” Roopali Mehra, Governing Council Member, Global Cybersecurity Association (GCA), said.

“At GCA, we strongly emphasize the need for cybersecurity awareness and campaigns. By fostering a culture of digital literacy and resilience, digital citizens can fortify themselves against the harmful influence of cyber scams, safeguarding the integrity and fairness of the electoral process in India,” she said.

“Through collaborative efforts and proactive measures, the Global Cybersecurity Association (GCA) stands committed to combating these evolving threats and upholding the principles of democracy in the digital age,” she said.

Sonit Jain, CEO of GajShield Infotech, said that deep fakes, fake calls, and survey spamming can undermine the integrity of our democratic process.

“These methods spread false information, manipulate perceptions, and may even suppress voter turnout. To safeguard against these threats, it’s essential to verify sources, exercise critical thinking, stay informed about common misinformation tactics, report suspicious activity to relevant authorities, and protect personal information from potential misuse,” he said.

“By taking these proactive measures, we can help protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that our democratic process remains fair and transparent,” he said.

Cybersecurity solutions company Norton felt that there was a critical need for vigilance amidst the election campaign frenzy. Cyber scams can pose a significant threat to the electoral process in the country.

“Deep fakes, fake calls and survey spamming can issue false information that results in intimidating the voters by potentially influencing their perceptions and decisions,” Ritesh Chopra, India Director, Norton, said.

“Preventing these dangers becomes even more critical as India gets ready for elections. Cybercriminals often exploit social engineering tactics, manipulating individuals through deceptive communication to divulge sensitive information or engage in harmful actions,” he said. Understanding the hallmarks of social engineering and phishing attempts empowers individuals to identify and thwart such schemes effectively.

Meanwhile, digital platform majors such as Google have said that they would deploy artificial intelligence models to fight cyber abuse. 

“We have policies around demonstrably false claims that could undermine democratic processes. We rely on a combination of human reviewers and machine learning to identify and remove content that violates our policies. Our AI models are enhancing our abuse-fighting efforts, while a dedicated team of local experts across all major Indian languages are working 24X7 to provide relevant context,” Google said ahead of India’s general elections

“With recent advances in our Large Language Models (LLMs), we’re building faster and more adaptable enforcement systems that enable us to remain nimble and take action even more quickly when new threats emerge,” it said.

It said it is helping the ecosystem in fighting misinformation.

Ahead of the General Election, Google is supporting Shakti, India Election Fact-Checking Collective, a consortium of news publishers and fact checkers in India, working together to aid the early detection of online misinformation, including deepfakes, and to create a common repository that news publishers can use to tackle the challenges of misinformation at scale.

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