Investigations carried out by federal agencies showed that hackers exploited seemingly minor flaws in the electronic voting system to manipulate the vote tally in the last presidential election. The findings might not surprise Americans as much as it would have done a few years ago, because now we know a bigger threat is hanging over the election process. Skeletons of the illegal online campaign launched by Russian agencies a couple of years ago to rig the presidential election are still tumbling out of the closets of technology companies like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG). With the midterm polls around the corner, the security agencies are busy plugging all the loopholes in the system to ensure a free and fair election. That the attackers managed to hack important government websites and breached huge volumes of voter data show the severity of the campaign, and that justifies the extra alert this time. Reports show that hackers, with possible Russia connections, are already doing the groundwork to interfere in the November election.
The litigation involving Facebook and the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data mining company that allegedly transferred details of Facebook users to Russian agencies, has exposed some startling facts with regard to misuse of personal information on the cyberspace. After being fined by the EU regulators for multiple lawsuits including the Russia-sponsored data breach, Facebook and other tech firms have vowed to stop malicious propaganda on their platforms and ensure data security.
Google was hit with a whopping $5-billion fine recently for monopolizing the market by coaxing smartphone makers into using its Android operating system. While Facebook escaped with a relatively lesser fine in the Cambridge Analytica case, it is facing a heavy penalty in Belgium for using information shared by account holders for commercial purposes. Earlier, Yahoo was slapped with a $35-million fine for hiding a massive data leak from users.