Finland must treat the threat posed by information operations seriously and not dismiss the possibility of a foreign state seeking to influence the outcome of its elections, says Jarno Limnéll, a professor of cyber security at Aalto University.
“Hybrid influence refers to attempts to take advantage of critical and vulnerable targets in a society and, thereby, possibly influence social unity, political decision-making and create public distrust,” he writes in his blog.
“Elections should be considered one possible target for influence operations in this context.”
Limnéll estimates that governmental operators are currently motivated to interfere in the elections of other states and should, partly as a result, be considered the greatest threat in terms of hybrid influence.
He also reminds that public trust in the integrity and fairness of elections is a prerequisite for any functioning democracy.
“It is possible to affect the credibility of elections without specifically using any concrete measures to influence, such as hacking into the voter register or trying to manipulate election results. In an era of digitalisation and social media, more and more attention is paid to influencing public conceptions,” he writes.
“Even if there are no issues with the voting system, it is possible to deliberately create a conception that the voting process is lacking and the election result cannot be trusted,” explains Limnéll.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi