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Hackers from China using AI to disrupt Indian elections: Microsoft warns

Microsoft has stressed the role of vigilance and proactive measures in combating foreign interference in the democratic processes. Their warning further highlights the imperative of increasing awareness and robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard electoral integrity.

Edited By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: April 07, 2024 13:53 IST
Hackers, AI, Indian elections, Microsoft
Image Source : FILE Hackers from China using AI to disrupt Indian elections: Microsoft warns

Microsoft's Threat Analysis team has cautioned that China is poised to disrupt major elections across the world, in a stark alert which further includes those in India, the US, and South Korea via the creation and dissemination of AI-generated content.

The Threat: China's growing influence

Despite the current impact of such content on election outcomes being deemed low, the team notes China's escalating efforts in leveraging AI to manipulate memes, videos, and audio for political influence, a tactic that could yield greater effectiveness in the future.

Social media manipulation and AI integration

Microsoft has highlighted China's utilization of fake social media accounts for conducting polls that aim at identifying divisive issues among voters. It is majorly particular in the context of the upcoming US presidential election. The strategic aim further appears to be sowing discord and potentially swaying election results in favour of China.

Emergence of AI-driven influence operations

A blog post highlights the strategic shift towards the use of AI-generated content from China, to advance its global objectives. This approach has been noted to have been observed in various spheres, including cryptocurrency heists, cyberattacks and intelligence gathering, which further demonstrates China's multifaceted use of technology for geopolitical ends.

Increased sophistication and targets

The geopolitical ambitions of China have remained consistent, but the Microsoft Threat Analysis team has reportedly observed a significant uptick in the sophistication of its influence operations (IO) attacks. It is worth noting, that the team has underscored China's doubling down on its targets and has further heightened the complexity of its strategies.

Foreign election interference

The presidential election of Taiwan witnessed a notable escalation in China-affiliated cyber criminals' use of AI-generated content, earlier this year which influenced the outcomes. This has further marked the first instance where Microsoft's Threat Intelligence team has observed a nation-state actor which will hire AI in foreign election interference efforts.

Microsoft's vigilance and warning

In the middle of the threat landscape, Microsoft has emphasized on the importance of vigilance and has proactive measures to counteract foreign interference in democratic processes. The company's warning has further underscored the critical need for heightened awareness and robust cybersecurity measures which will help in safeguarding electoral integrity in an era of AI-driven disinformation campaigns.

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Inputs from IANS

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