Political parties issued advisories on foreign interference and cyber security attacks ahead of next Singapore GE

SINGAPORE – Political parties have been issued advisories on the threat of foreign interference and cyber security attacks ahead of the next general election, with the authorities urging parties to stay vigilant and take precautions to mitigate such risks.

“Political parties play an important role in safeguarding the integrity of our general election,” said the Home Affairs Ministry, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and Elections Department in a joint statement on Monday (April 20). “They should enhance their understanding of the threat of foreign interference, and their cyber security posture.”

Parties should also learn what they can do to protect their information technology infrastructure, online and social media accounts, and the storage and management of their data, they said.

The authorities added that political parties should also monitor their platforms for suspicious activity and not re-share posts or tweets of suspicious provenance.

Foreign interference refers to attempts by foreign countries, agencies or individuals to influence elections in another country. Such attempts have been reported elsewhere, including in the 2016 United States presidential election.

“Singapore is not immune, and we need to guard against such nefarious activity as we head towards our own general election (GE), which must be held by April 2021,” said the authorities in the statement.

They added that reports of malicious cyber activities, such as disruptions and data theft, have been observed in elections elsewhere.

These attacks “shook their electorates’ confidence in their countries’ election processes”.

“As Singapore is a highly digitally-connected nation, we need to also guard against opportunistic attempts to disrupt our election processes, to cast doubts on the integrity of our general election, and attack the credibility of our government,” they said.

Political parties and candidates should report to the police immediately if they detect or suspect foreign interference in elections, or if their accounts or systems have been compromised or misused, the agencies added. They should also inform the Elections Department.

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