CYBER THREAT ACTIVITY CONTINUES TO TARGET THE THREE ASPECTS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Voters engage with political parties, candidates, and other voters through traditional and social media. Cyber threat actors manipulate online information, often on social media using cyber tools, in order to influence voters’ opinions and behaviours. In the 2017 Cyber Threats to Canada’s Democratic Process we called this target “the media.” We have revised this term to focus less on the medium and more on the target itself: the voters.
Political parties, candidates, and their staff vie for attention and support in elections, relying heavily on the Internet, which they use to organize themselves and communicate with voters. Cyber threat actors use cyber tools to target the websites, e-mail, social media accounts, and the networks and devices of political parties, candidates, and their staff.
Elections include all the processes involved when Canadians vote for their Member of Parliament. For successful transitions of government to take place, Canadians must have confidence the process is legitimate. Cyber threat actors could attempt to undermine trust in our elections or suppress voter turnout by altering content on websites, social media accounts, and networks and devices used by Elections Canada.
Figure 3: Canada’s democratic process
Figure 3 - Description
There are three targets in Canada’s democratic process that cyber threat actors can try to affect: in the outer layer are voters, who represent the largest number of targets; in the middle layer are political parties and politicians; and in the centre of the target are elections.