Local cybersecurity experts speak out with tips on how to protect yourself during 2020 election

Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 20:59:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With news from the FBI on Wednesday that other countries have taken steps to influence American voters in the 2020 election, local cybersecurity experts are speaking out with tips on how to protect yourself.

It all began with a press conference where senior White House and FBI officials said that Russia and Iran are attempting to undermine our election by influencing voters.

Local experts want to remind you of a few things you can do to avoid misinformation.

"The biggest thing we tell people is don't trust social media, don't trust the things that are sent to your inbox because most likely it's been sent to you because your information has been compromised," said Sawyer Snowden, senior project manager at ARRC Technology, an IT company that deals with cybersecurity and is following the interference news closely

Right now cybersecurity experts say all Americans can be vulnerable.

"Check your sources. Always try to find the same article or anything that you get in your email on multiple sites," added Snowden.

On Wednesday during the news briefing, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe announced Iran and Russia obtained voter registration information.

"This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy," said Ratcliffe.

Snowden says false information is given to everyday people based on their search habits. For example, a foreign entity may use artificial intelligence to pick up on a person's search habits and ultimately serve false information that will get their attention. This can come in the form of emails, advertisements, and articles on social media.

“Artificial intelligence is so intelligent,” said Snowden.

ARRC also reminds everyone that maintaining strong passwords is critical for keeping your information safe. And if you want to protect yourself from being targeted on social media, Snowden has one tip, use incognito mode.

"When you use incognito mode, they can't access any of the stored information to gear content toward you," said Snowden.