Bots will take down voting systems ahead of 2020 elections, expert predicts

Expert predicts that bot operations will influence the 2020 electionsExpert predicts that bot operations will influence the 2020 elections. Photo by Phillip Glickman on Unsplash

By 2020, the internet bots are expected to “become increasingly sophisticated” in its operations in mimicking the human online behaviour but could also affect e-commerce and IoT, an expert said. The expert said that bots will most likely have a more substantial impact in the upcoming 2020 elections and could possibly be used to attack the voting system in general. 

Tiffany Olson Kleemann, VP of Bot Management at Imperva, in an email to Z6Mag, predicts that there will be more sophisticated internet bots that will sprout in in 2020. Impeva is one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firm.

“More than half of web traffic is already comprised of bots, and over the coming year, these bots will become increasingly sophisticated and accurate in their mimicking of online human behaviour. In fact, by imitating scrolling patterns or by pausing and moving the mouse sporadically, bots are already successfully blending into web traffic, and this will become an increasing concern for businesses – especially where security and customer experience is paramount,” she said. 

Bots will influence the results of the 2020 elections

Kleeman told Z6Mag that even in the 2016 elections, bots played a huge part in influencing the results that have elected the current president of the United States, Donald Trump. In no less, she predicts that the bot operations targeting the 2020 elections will far be more powerful and could even attack the voting system as a whole. 

“Bots had a substantial impact on the 2016 presidential election, so there is no doubt they will work to influence the 2020 presidential election as well. Bots will not only work to influence public opinion around the 2020 election but will also target the election systems themselves next year,” she noted. 

The cybersecurity expert believes that bots will be able to directly target online voter registration portal and scrape sensitive pieces of information that they will be used to forward their social engineering goals ahead of the elections next year. 

A 7 layer DDoS attack could possibly be launched in order to take down the entire voting system, crashing the entire network altogether. 

With this, the expert believes that local and government agencies should prepare for the upcoming storm brought by bots as the election date comes closer. 

“Local and government agencies will need to be prepared for the multiple threats they present – as not only do they pose a huge threat to the swaying people’s perceptions of candidates but when structured as a seven-layer DDoS attack they have the ability to take down whole election systems,” she warns.  

Bots will impact e-commerce 

Because much of the e-commerce industry comes unprepared for DDoS attacks by bots, the expert believes that e-commerce sites will most likely be plagued even more by bot traffic comes 2020. Kleeman says she sees an increase in the attacks in these kinds of environment. 

Specifically, bots will most likely attack ticketing companies which release a certain number of “rare” items, which are prime areas for bot activity, Kleeman noted. 

“In order to prevent this, e-commerce retailers need to change their strategy, by making more product and having it available for longer, creating an environment where bots can’t succeed faster than humans,” she added. 

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