Guam – Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros tells PNC that he’s not aware of any foreign cybersecurity threats to Guam’s elections but says such activity would come at a steep price.
We asked Charfauros about troll farms out of the Philippines and how Guam could protect itself from dangerous foreign influence online.
“There’s foreign actors that are trying to influence or attempting to influence the outcome of not just state elections but also national elections. I am not aware of any movement toward influencing the election here on Guam. There are folks trying to do that in other methods in other ways, but not necessarily at a level that is very sophisticated,” said Charfauros.
“It’s a blessing in disguise for us on Guam because a lot of states, their voting system is online so you can influence that somehow through cyber attacks or influence through other methods using the cyber network, the network, but with respect to us on Guam we are not online,” he added.
While Charfauros is not aware of any cases involving foreign interference in Guam’s elections, he says such activity, especially government-sanctioned ones, could be considered egregious enough to be labeled as an act of war.
“If the person or the group is U.S. based there are certain laws that make it criminal to do that but if they’re foreign based, it’s really difficult because when you attack through a cyber attack, some people will define it as an act of war. It’s just like sending a missile our way, it’s an act of our. So a cyber attack, even though it’s not kinetic or it’s not damaging in nature, physically damaging in nature, can be defined as a crime,” explained Charfauros.
Even cyber attacks or foreign influence not backed by a government is considered illicit activity. Charfauros tells PNC, “Yes, there are ways to do it … there’s always legal implications.”
Charfauros, the Lt. Governor’s Office and telecommunications officials were commemorating the proclamation of Cybersecurity Awareness Month today.
As part of cybersecurity month, authorities are encouraging the community to participate in change your password day. On October 25 at 10:25 am, participants will change the passwords to their cyber accounts in order to stay safe online.