FBI San Francisco Discusses Cybersecurity Ahead of Mid-Term Elections
SAN FRANCISCO—The FBI San Francisco Field Office met with reporters today to discuss potential cybersecurity threats to the upcoming elections, what authorities are doing to protect election security, and what the public needs to know to be best informed ahead of election season.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Elvis Chan is in charge of the FBI San Francisco Division’s Cyber Branch and leads the FBI’s efforts to enforce election security in the Bay Area and Northern California region.
“Election security continues to be one of the FBI’s highest national security priorities across the country and most definitely here in the Northern District of California. Our San Francisco Division’s Cyber Branch is actively working in concert with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, our intelligence community counterparts, and our private sector partners, as well as federal, state, and local election officials to share information, bolster security, and identify and disrupt any threats by cyber actors to our nation’s elections,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chan. “Our citizens have a right to expect free and fair elections, and the FBI is committed to ensuring the integrity of the 2022 midterm elections.”
The FBI is the lead U.S. agency investigating suspicious cyber activity on any election-related systems in the United States, including election infrastructure, campaign networks, related third-party vendors, and service-provider networks. Investigators, analysts, and other professionals in the FBI’s San Francisco Division have been working with our agency partners within our region to protect against persisting cybersecurity threats to our elections. Among those who pose threats to our election infrastructure are actors tied to foreign governments and cybercriminal groups.
Historically, bad actors who have targeted election infrastructure aim to obtain personally identifiable information of voters and other valuable data, collect ransom on seized data, and generally disrupt election operations and undermine U.S. voter confidence in free and fair elections.
Malicious activity that occurred in previous elections demonstrated how imperative it is for election officials to ensure their websites and databases are secured against exploitation. Ahead of the 2022 elections, the FBI has been working extensively with our U.S. government partners and state and local election officials to help harden their systems against cyberattacks. The FBI is also collaborating with election campaigns, political committees, social media companies, and directly with the American people to respond quickly to threats and proactively protect systems.
The FBI San Francisco wants to assure the public that we are committed to ensuring the integrity of our elections and that our citizens should feel secure in our election systems.
Protect Your Vote: Recommendations for the Public
The FBI encourages voters to look at news and social media posts with a critical eye and find trusted sources of information. The FBI also warns voters to exercise care when sharing information to avoid inadvertently spreading disinformation and propaganda. When appropriate, using in-platform tools offered by social media companies is encouraged for the public to report suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voting and elections.
Victim Reporting and Additional Information
The best way both the public and private sectors can help the FBI protect our election systems is by reporting suspicious activity. The FBI San Francisco encourages the public to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or by calling FBI San Francisco at 415-553-740. For additional election-related assistance and resources, please visit the following FBI webpages: