Federal Authorities Warn Iranian Hackers Are Attacking State Election Websites And Spreading Disinformation

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

 

With only days left until the November elections, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned that Iran has stepped up its effort to influence the race. While progressives and their close friends and allies in the corporate press are trying to keep the nation focused on Russia, Tehran is becoming more of a threat to U.S. elections. 

The Washington Examiner reported that “an Iranian cyber group was responsible for the targeting of U.S. election websites, the voter intimidation emails sent to potential voters, and the dissemination of election-related disinformation on voter fraud through a propaganda video this month, according to the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.”

DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI issued a joint cybersecurity advisory detailing an “advanced persistent threat” from an Iranian hacker organization. The statement explained that the Iranians had “scanned state websites, to include state election websites” in September. The authorities also found that the hackers were “attempting to exploit website to obtain copies of voter registration data” in September and October.

An FBI FLASH Alert also pointed out that Iranian hackers “are likely intent on influencing and interfering with the U.S. elections to sow discord among voters and undermine public confidence in the U.S. electoral process” and “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.”

The Bureau also note that the Iranian hackers “had taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election” and suggested that their objective “is almost certainly intended to make U.S. voter information and the voting process appear insecure and susceptible to fraud.”

At this point, there is no evidence that these hackers have succeeded in changing votes or altered any tallies. The announcement come only one week after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray informed the nation that both Russia and Iran had obtained U.S. voter registration information. 

Ratcliffe announced that “we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia” and that “this data can be used by foreign actors to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.” Wray assured voters that their votes would be counted. 

After the joint announcement, the State Department and Treasury Department imposed new sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other Iranian organizations that are trying to meddle in the 2020 elections. 

Just last week, Iran was found to have sent intimidating emails while posing as members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing group. These emails were sent to hundreds of Democratic voters in Florida. The emails threatened, “you will vote for Trump on Election Day, or we will come after you.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to downplay the news about Iranian interference. “Russia is the villain here, from what we have seen in the public domain. Iran is a bad actor, but in no way equivalent.” 

Despite what Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues say, it is clear that Russia is not the only foreign power attempting to undermine faith in America’s elections. The fact that Iran is trying to contribute to the narratives about voter suppression and voter fraud shows that they know what each side will argue if their candidates loses. 

The likelihood that this election will be contested will exacerbate this situation, since Iran’s meddling won’t stop after Election Day if it’s too close to call. As the Democrats try to distract from Tehran by deflecting to Russia, it’s important that the nation is aware of every foreign power that is meddling in our elections, otherwise, Pelosi and the gang might just drum up yet another Russiagate hoax. 

 

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