Want to influence an election? All you need is about $400,000, according to cybersecurity consultant Trend Micro.
That’s the sum it takes to buy followers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, hire companies to write and disseminate fake news postings over a period of 12 months, and run sophisticated websites to influence public opinion, according to Udo Schneider, a security expert for the German-speaking market at Trend Micro.
“Hacking the actual voting process isn’t worth it as it leaves traces, is very expensive and technologically challenging,” Schneider said Wednesday at a security conference organised by Deutsche Telekom in Berlin. Yet influencing public opinion via fake news and data leaks, as is believed to have happened during the US and French election campaigns, is relatively simple and “could also happen ahead of the German elections”.
German politicians are