Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Hacked Elections, Online Influence Operations, and the Threat to Democracy

The Hacked Elections, Online Influence Operations, and the Threat to Democracy symposium, held on December 6, 2017, featured four panels of policymakers, business executives, and other opinion leaders in discussion about the cybersecurity threat to democracies, particularly to the election systems themselves and the subsequent attempts to shape the public debate through mass disinformation and online commentary. This symposium is made possible by the generous support of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Session I: Cybersecurity Threats to the Integrity of U.S. Elections


Matt Blaze, Connie Lawson, Michael Sulmeyer and Samuel H. Feist provide an overview of the complex problems facing election cybersecurity and offer recommendations to protect the integrity of elections from cyber threats. This video also features introductory remarks by Adam Segal. 

Session II: Combating Online Information Operations


Renee DiResta, Thomas Rid, Clint Watts, and Karen Kornbluh explore how the United States and the tech community can respond to foreign actors' use of online platforms to propagate disinformation and amplify specific viewpoints.

Session III: Building a Foreign Policy Response


Ashley S. Deeks, René Nyberg, and Evelyn N. Farkas examine what foreign policy responses are at the United States’ disposal to respond to Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and how it could learn from countries that have faced a similar threat. 

Session IV: Keynote with Richard Burr


In the final session of the symposium, Richard Burr and David Sanger discuss cybersecurity. 

Cyber tracker

The Cyber Operations Tracker offers
• a searchable database of nearly two hundred state-sponsored cyber-incidents known to the public;
• a timeline listing incidents from 2005 to the present;
• a downloadable dataset for deeper investigation;
• a submission tool for reporting new incidents;
• profiles of more than fifty threat actors;
• explanations of the six most common types of cyber operations; and
• an analysis of important trends.