The current Prime Minister of Israel is Benjamin Netanyahu, who is involved in corruption cases and will be indicted during his upcoming hearing. However, he will likely be able to keep his position because (Ahren) the attorney general is not expected to finalize his decision before 2020. In Israel, the campaign for Prime Minister has led to cyberwarfare. Benny Gantz, Israel’s former army chief, was campaigning as a moral alternative to the current Prime Minister when his phone was hacked by an Iranian intelligence and had his data stolen. The attackers seem to have accomplished their goals of creating a sense of doubt around electing Gantz, as people now worry that the information stolen will lead to blackmail and manipulation if elected.
There is some controversy around Benny Gantz as well, including allegations of sexual misconduct and failure to properly evacuate a soldier to safety during his military career. Because of this, the hack has started rumors that the information taken from his cellphone could be used against him as blackmail, and that if elected, this could influence his policy decisions.
Regardless of who wins the election, this incident emphasizes how politicians can be influenced by cyberwarfare- even if there was nothing important taken from his phone, the attack has led to a lot of doubt surrounding whether he would be able to perform his job without intervention from outside parties. Some are calling this an “Attack on Democracy,” as it biases the public’s views of the candidates. While this instance happened in Israel, it is easy to imagine something similar happening in the US, which is pretty concerning. The idea that a hack in which (ostensibly) no relevant information was stolen could ruin someone’s political career and help someone corrupt gain the popular vote is concerning. The manipulation of elections in this way is not dissimilar to the way Russian troll farms manipulate elections, and the combination of so many different types of attacks influencing elections could mean the end of democracy.