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According to information published on the website of the National Cryptologic Center, the April and May elections multiply the risk of interference to influence the outcome. In view of this scenario, the Government has set up a unit against the so-called “hybrid threats”, with early response procedures to mitigate both cyber-attacks and disinformation. Experts from the Department of National Security, the Secretariat of State for Communication (both in La Moncloa) and the ministries most concerned are leading these efforts. Although the initial impulse came from the EU to preserve the European elections in May, Spain is advancing the strategy before the general elections.

Aware that the challenge is almost insurmountable, members of the Administration affected by the phenomenon have held inter-ministerial meetings to at least try to detect the threats. In the last few weeks, the heads of the Interior, as guarantor of the cleanliness of the elections; of Defense, where the National Intelligence Center (CNI) is located; of Foreign Affairs, which analyzes the problem with European partners; and of the Presidency of the Government have exchanged impressions. The efforts have crystallized in a sort of unit, integrated in La Moncloa and made up, among others, by the heads of the Department of National Security (advises the President in this matter) and of the Secretariat of State of Communication, according to what sources in La Moncloa explain to EL PAÍS.

More complex, if possible, is to tackle the other great focus of non-conventional threats: the manipulation of information. “We are just starting. At the moment there are no computer tools that guarantee the detection of the so-called fake news. We are asking high-level companies to work on programs to detect them, but it is not easy,” explains a source at La Moncloa involved in this work.

The battle is unequal. While there are already machines that disseminate and multiply hoaxes at a much higher rate than real users on social networks, the chances of automatically detecting a misleading message are nil.