The EPS builds on the NESSP to more deeply investigate current vulnerabilities and threats targeting network-centric based electoral processes and delivers appropriate countermeasures. It will then deploy the strategy outlined below to collect, process and disseminate information on the election. This will reduce effectiveness of attack vectors and increase public awareness. EPS assists clients to develop risk assessment tools to proactively manage potential electoral security challenges. Elections are influenced by a range of cyber attack vectors, including Twitter robots, fake news website, targeted advertising and the manipulation of trending topics.
The EPS aims to defend against this by monitoring elections online and providing intelligence to decision makers. The attack vectors can be defended against and this includes the removal and takedown of fake news sites, blocking and takedown of twitter robots, reporting of false advertising to media owners. Trusted and balanced news sources could be promoted if agreed up by stakeholders.
The EPS is deployed using the four stages of the intelligence cycle, the UK intelligence management methodology to produce intelligence to support decision makers.
• Direction: Define the intelligence requirement and prioritise business and mission objectives. This will form the requirements for the intelligence collection plan. Election example; monitor all candidates social media.
• Collection: Setup of Avatar profiles to monitor and possibly engage with groups. Election example; Anonymous profile is setup to join a Facebook group.
• Processing: The current off the shelf system has substantial capabilities which will be augmented with additional features to further meet the election defence requirements.
• Dissemination: Reports covering all aspects of the election on social media and online can be generated as regularly as required. It would be recommended that intelligence analysts produce a summary cover sheet drawing conclusion from the data.
Social Media & Online monitoring capabilities
• OSINT platform with additional capabilities if requested by stakeholder
• 187 languages
• Global data collection – 150 million websites, 10 social media sites, print news, online news, blogs, forums, broadcast tv, broadcast radio.
• 2 years of historical data for time machine capability
• AI sentiment analysis
• Key influences identification
• SearX platform for real-time alerts from hacks, data breach in principle country.
• Development of risk management framework (RMF) to manage potential cyber risks to electoral processes
• Deployment of RMF/ to a target country or target countries (pilot)