In the latest State of the Economy podcast,, Kurmanath KV and Vishal Salvi, CEO of Quick Heal Technologies Limited look at the issue of cybersecurity threats during elections.

The episode, which is the first of a new series of podcasts on cybersecurity, looks at how and why hackers are targeting elections globally, including recent events in India, and discusses the sophisticated methods used to manipulate election outcomes and extract valuable information.

Salvi outlines two primary areas of concern in election-related cybersecurity.

First, the manipulation of narratives through social media and other digital platforms, which can significantly influence election outcomes. “The manipulation and the method that threat actors use can only be countered by solutions provided by cybersecurity,” says Salvi.

The conversation highlights the evolution of cyber threats with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI has made it easier for hackers to create sophisticated phishing emails, multilingual scams, and deepfake videos that are difficult to distinguish from real content. “Now, with the advent of AI, the way phishing emails are written is so clever that they appear more genuine than even a real email,” Salvi points out. He emphasises that AI is a double-edged sword: while it empowers attackers, while also offering tools for defenders to counter these threats.

The podcast also throws light on the use of analytical software to gauge public opinion and deepfake technology to create misleading videos. “These algorithms are so clever and so efficient that you can create a real-looking video with a fake narrative,” he notes. Salvi stresses the importance of robust cybersecurity solutions that can detect and prevent such manipulations.

Cyber threats are global now, with malware often being written overseas but executed locally, creating a complex ecosystem of cybercriminal activities. “In the digital and cybersecurity world, there are no boundaries. You don’t need a passport or a visa to enter one computer from another, and because of the internet, everything is connected,” says Salvi.

Salvi advocates for a multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity during elections, involving proactive government policies, public awareness campaigns, and advanced technological solutions. He commends the Indian government’s proactive steps before the recent elections but calls for ongoing efforts to establish a comprehensive policy framework to ensure all stakeholders, especially ISPs, are held accountable for monitoring and removing malicious content.

To conclude, Salvi calls for collective effort to address the systemic issue of cybersecurity in the digital age. He emphasises that the threat extends beyond elections and requires a combination of policy, awareness, and technology to protect against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Listen in!

Host: KV Kurmanath, Producer: Siddharth Mathew Cherian


About the State of the Economy podcast 

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups