Former Facebook security chief: It's 'too late' to secure 2018 elections

Former Facebook security chief: It's 'too late' to secure 2018 elections
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Facebook's former chief security officer Alex Stamos says it's "too late" to secure the 2018 midterm elections from actors working to influence American politics, and that a focus should be put on bolstering protections heading into the 2020 election.

The recently departed Facebook official pointed to the company's revelation Tuesday that it had deleted hundreds of accounts that were part of a coordinated misinformation effort as well as Microsoft’s disclosure that conservative think tanks had been hacked by a group with ties to Russia.

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“The revelations are evidence that Russia has not been deterred and that Iran is following in its footsteps. This underlines a sobering reality: America’s adversaries believe that it is still both safe and effective to attack U.S. democracy using American technologies and the freedoms we cherish,” Stamos wrote in a post for the national security blog Lawfare.

He instead urged Congress to establish legal standards for misinformation, said the federal government should make a firm decision on who is in charge of cybersecurity matters, called for states to bolster their election infrastructure and said Americans should more strongly demand that breaches and attacks be investigated.

“The attacks against U.S. political discourse aim to undermine citizens’ confidence, create chaos and jeopardize the legitimacy of the American government,” Stamos wrote.

Stamos outlined breaches and newly revealed social media misinformation campaigns that surfaced months after it was revealed that Russian hackers attempted to breach congressional campaigns and Facebook disclosed that it had discovered a separate misinformation campaign.

Lawmakers will have a chance to address concerns from Stamos, who left Facebook at the beginning of this month, and others in the tech and cybersecurity communities during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Sept. 5.

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are slated to testify before the committee on foreign political influence efforts on their platforms.