Countering Elections Related Cyber Threats and Disinformation Campaigns in Ukraine

20.March.2019

Since the beginning of this year, the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership together with CybExer Technologies have been implementing the European Union-funded project “Countering Elections Related Cyber Threats and Disinformation Campaigns in Ukraine” to support the integrity of Ukraine’s electoral processes.

Ensuring the Cyber Resilience of Electoral Processes. Example of Estonia.

On March 1-4, representatives of relevant Ukrainian authorities visited Estonia to gain insight into how the Estonian General Election of March 3 was organised and its integrity ensured. The active involvement of various Estonian authorities, especially the State Electoral Office at a busy time for them, confirmed Estonia’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in ensuring free and fair elections. In addition to meeting and sharing experiences with counterparts and observing the electoral process, the visit also focused on how cooperation between relevant institutions can help counter election-related cyber threats and disinformation campaigns.

Following the study visit, CybExer Technologies held a technical cyber security exercise in Kyiv on March 5 – 7. The exercise involved representatives of various Ukrainian authorities responsible for ensuring the cyber security of electoral processes, and provided them with an opportunity to practice their cooperation and technical skills in defending the relevant systems in near-real conditions using virtual infrastructure.

Disinformation in cyber space: realities and practices. Hidden impact of disinformation on public opinion. Specifics of the election period.

The resilience-building efforts also include training sessions for local media representatives in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The first session was held on March 14 – 15 in Odesa, where experts from Ukraine and Estonia shared their experiences and best practices in countering disinformation campaigns in cyberspace. The training is intended to raise awareness among journalists and their audience of the dangers of disinformation and cyber-attacks, how to recognise these and how to mitigate their effects. Safeguarding media from malicious interference requires awareness of the latest tactics and strategies and continuous training to be able to respond appropriately to the increasingly more sophisticated methods and tools used to create and spread disinformation. The training is organised by ECEAP in cooperation with the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center and OPORA, who both have extensive experience in the field.