Today the FBI is launching a webpage on combating foreign influence.
This information is provided to educate the public about the threats
faced from disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and the overall
impact of foreign influence on society. The FBI is the lead federal
agency responsible for investigating foreign influence operations.
the fall of 2017, Director Christopher Wray established the Foreign
Influence Task Force (FITF) to identify and counteract malign foreign
influence operations targeting the United States.
influence operations—which include covert actions by foreign governments
to influence U.S. political sentiment or public discourse—are not a new
problem. But the interconnectedness of the modern world, combined with
the anonymity of the Internet, have changed the nature of the threat and
how the FBI and its partners must address it. The goal of these foreign
influence operations directed against the United States is to spread
disinformation, sow discord, and, ultimately, undermine confidence in
our democratic institutions and values.
operations have taken many forms and used many tactics over the years.
Most widely reported these days are attempts by adversaries—hoping to
reach a wide swath of Americans covertly from outside the United
States—to use false personas and fabricated stories on social media
platforms to discredit U.S. individuals and institutions.
Other influence operations by adversaries include:
- Targeting U.S. officials and other U.S. persons through traditional intelligence tradecraft
- Criminal efforts to suppress voting and provide illegal campaign financing
- Cyber attacks against voting infrastructure, along with computer intrusions targeting elected officials and others
part of the combating foreign influence webpage, the FBI is launching
the Protected Voices initiative—in partnership with the Department of
Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence—which includes
the release of a number of short videos on the most urgent cybersecurity
issues that may leave a political campaign’s computer networks
vulnerable to attacks. The videos include tips and best practices on how
best to protect computer networks, based on industry research and the
FBI’s vast experience investigating cyber crimes.
But even beyond
political campaigns, the cybersecurity information contained in these
videos will be helpful to anyone who uses a computer.
The combating foreign influence webpage can be found at fbi.gov/foreigninfluence, and the Protected Voices webpage can be found at fbi.gov/protectedvoices. State and local election officials or campaign staff should report suspicious activity to their local FBI field office and also notify FBI CyWatch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-855-292-3937.