Voter beware: US tells public how to avoid election mischief

A public service announcement from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity agency is photographed Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. The government agencies have issued a series of advisories in recent weeks aimed at warning voters about problems that could surface in the election as well as steps Americans can take to counter the foreign interference threat. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity agency have issued a series of advisories in recent weeks aimed at warning voters about problems that could surface in the election — as well as steps Americans can take to counter the foreign interference threat.

The issues identified in the public service announcements run the gamut from the spread of online disinformation about the electoral process to cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure. Taken together, the advisories make clear that American agencies are tracking a broad range of potential threats that they believe voters should know about — not just for transparency's sake but also so voters can be prepared.

The warnings come even though U.S. officials as recently as Tuesday expressed confidence in the integrity of the vote despite repeated efforts by President Donald Trump to denigrate it.

Some of the announcements from the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency:

DISINFORMATION THROUGH BOGUS INTERNET DOMAINS AND EMAIL ACCOUNTS

It's not hard to set up a fake, or spoofed, email account or website to closely resemble a legitimate one. That's precisely what the FBI and CISA are warning may take place to trick Americans during the election.

Cybercriminals routinely forge websites with slight misspellings or other barely perceptible alterations to dupe internet users.

In the context of an election, for instance, a bogus website ending in “.com” instead of “.gov” that purports to have legitimate voting information or results could trick people who visit the page into thinking that what they're reading is an authentic, trustworthy government source.