Former Facebook security chief says it's "too late" to protect 2018 elections

Facebook's recently departed security chief said that the inaction of the US government has ensured that the upcoming midterm elections will be vulnerable to hacking and online manipulation campaigns.

Alex Stamos, who left the company earlier this month, said in an article aboutLawfareargued his case in an article that said it was too late "to protect the 2018 election". He was responding to two pieces of news yesterday: that Microsoft caught six apparently for a Russian political phishing attack, and that Facebook deactivated 652 fake accounts and pages suspected of being involved in misinformation campaigns.

Citing this evidence as proof that hacks from Russia (and now Iran) were not thwarted by election meddling, Stamos accused the Obama administration, the Trump administration and Congress of "hardening the response" to the rigged campaign during the 2016 election. If the US continues down this path, it will risk making its elections a World Cup information war," he wrote. "

His prescription for the 2020 U.S. election includes promoting the Honest Ads Act, which calls for greater transparency in online political ads, but would have an amendment that would clarify how to influence how ad campaigns use vast databases of voters to target ads. He also urged the U.S. government to create a dedicated federal cybersecurity agency, as well as national-level security organizations, to prevent direct elections - hacking - from theoretically finding and fixing vulnerabilities, such as the recently announced voting machine security breach.

The article reflects the widespread criticism that Facebook and other social media platforms have received for allowing hackers to manipulate their platforms. Stamos has been outspoken about the company's security issues, and he reportedly got upset with some Facebook executives by pushing to reveal information about misinformation campaigns in 2016. Here, he writes "Social media platforms, including my former employer, made serious mistakes in 2016. "But he is also very concerned about the government's role in failing to prevent or punish attacks, and the potential problems with other online advertising companies. It has "flown under the radar".

Bob Lord, chief security officer of the Democratic National Committee, made similar comments earlier today after the DNC reported on a phishing attack against the FBI. "These threats are serious, which is why it's critical that we all work together, but we can't do it alone," Lord said. "We need the [Trump] administration to take more aggressive steps to protect our voting system. They have a responsibility to protect our democracy from these types of attacks. "

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