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Government Shields 21-D against hoaxes and cyber

Several ministries oversee the provisional vote-counting system

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Government Shields 21-D against hoaxes and cyber

The outcome of 21-D election cannot be manipulated. The Spanish electoral system is based on manual counting of ballots, in presence of auditors and members of tables. In case of a claim, count can be repeated. Anor thing is provisional results that are broadcast on election night. Alteration of se data would not change end result, but would create confusion and damage confidence in democratic system. The government has set in motion a plan to avoid this chaotic scenario.

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The aim of disinformation campaigns "is not to obtain a concrete result [in elections], but to undermine confidence in results," director of NATO Strategic Communications Center, Janis Sarts, warned this Thursday.

The Spanish electoral system does not admit fraud, but sensibility is with skin and social networks have been flooded of messages, coming from independence circles, suggesting possibility of a pucherazo in elections of 21st day. The Catalan National Assembly (ANP) and CUP have even announced that y will make a count parallel to officer through an application.

Government sources admit that PSOE and citizens, ir main allies in activation of article 155 of Constitution, have urged to develop a plan to counteract campaigns of disrepute against Spanish democracy.

The government has set up a working group to ensure that nothing alters normality of electoral process. It is integrated by representatives of Ministry of Interior, State Secretariat of Public Administration, National Cryptologic Center and Secretary of State for communication, in collaboration with Center for Communications and Information Technologies (CCIC ) and information Security Centre of Catalonia (Cesicat), both of Generalitat. Among its functions is to oversee Indra's work, signature to which provisional vote count has been awarded.

The main concern is period from closing of ballot boxes (at 8 pm on 21st) to proclamation of results (between third and sixth day following election Day).

The Task Force has already assessed risks facing interim count. The main threats are a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on web through which interim results and replication will be disseminated. Both a blackout in diffusion of count and a proliferation of false pages with erroneous data would cause considerable concern in a country accustomed to having reliable results a few hours after closure of ballot boxes.

To prevent a cyber to lay down official site have been extreme security measures and to stop attempts to falsify official website has been ready a device to provide a court order to close fraudulent websites with immediate effects.

However, possibility of an attack cannot be ruled out. The cyberactivists of Anonymous have reactivated ir Proindendentista campaign and y presume to have inflitrado for 20 days in Indra networks to demonstrate ir vulnerability. The company supports cyber, but denies that it has compromised data from its customers or that it may affect 21-D electoral count.

Anor different question is how to respond to false news. The responsibility of detecting ir appearance and trying to rebatirlas "with more zeal" and speed of what has done so far corresponds to secretary of State for communication.

The government has consulted with countries that have suffered se campaigns in ir electoral processes. Spain lacks legislation that allows m to be tackled and many of m have origin abroad, which makes task difficult. But "lack of credibility of governments," NATO expert acknowledged yesterday, is its greatest vulnerability.


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