Christopher Wray Munich
Image: FBI Director Christopher speaking at the Munich Cyber Security Conference on February 15. Credit: MCSC

US facing unprecedented election threats ‘enabled by new technology,’ FBI director says

The 2024 U.S. election is likely to face more threats than in previous cycles as adversaries adopt new technology to enhance the speed and sophistication of attacks, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned on Thursday.

“The U.S. has confronted foreign malign influence threats in the past,” Wray said during an event organized by the nonprofit Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

However, “this election cycle, the U.S. will face more adversaries, moving at a faster pace, and enabled by new technology.”

Wray noted advances in generative artificial intelligence are “lowering the barrier to entry, making it easier for both more and less-sophisticated foreign adversaries to engage in malign influence — while making foreign influence efforts by players both old and new more realistic and more difficult to detect.”

Wray is among a growing chorus of U.S. national security officials who warn digital threats to voting have only grown since Russia’s multi-faceted attack on the 2016 presidential race — even though those same leaders also predict the upcoming Election Day will be the most secure ever.

“As intelligence professionals, we’ve got to highlight threats in specific, evidence-based ways so that we’re usefully arming our partners and, in particular, the public against the kinds of foreign influence operations they’re likely to confront,” Wray said.

The landscape “requires us all to be lashed tightly together to continue hitting these threats together, early, and hard,” he added, noting partner agencies like U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, CIA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Wray also emphasized the need to work with state and local policymakers, election authorities and the private sector to better identify and potentially disrupt any threats to the country’s election.

“So while the threats are moving faster and have grown more complex, I’m confident that our partnerships — across the government and the private sector — are better than ever, and that our combat-tempo response to election threats will remain as fast, well-coordinated, and skillful as ever,” he said.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.