State and federal officials say they are well prepared for the possibility of a cyberattack on American election systems Nov. 6, but experts warn that even a false claim of interference by foreign actors on Election Day could undermine the public’s faith in the voting process. The top cyber official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it’s a very real possibility that groups will announce they successfully hacked certain election results. That would require swift action from federal authorities to decisively refute any unsubstantiated declarations of election meddling, analysts say. “I could absolutely envision a scenario where someone claims to have had access or claims to have hacked” an election, Christopher Krebs, the undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), told reporters last week.
Krebs said if such a claim were made, federal officials would contact the state and local officials running the election to see if they could verify it. If the allegation is shown to be false, he said federal officials would do their best to help spread the word.
“If they need independent verification, my teams are ready to go,” he said. “The FBI and the Department of Justice are ready to help out as well.”