Google project hopes to provide election security globally

Google project hopes to provide election security globally
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Jigsaw, a social-minded tech incubator run by Google's parent company, Alphabet, is distributing a free suite of tools to protect elections the world over. 

Protect Your Election includes an anti-phishing program, two-factor identification software and mitigation of an attack known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS), and is meant for elections infrastructure, political parties and newspapers covering the contests.

"Defense of free expression is at the core of Jigsaw's mission," said Jigsaw Head of Communications and Senior Advisor Dan Keyserling. "And protecting elections websites is critical to that." 


On Tuesday, Jigsaw and Google announced a French-language version of the tools and began outreach to French election stakeholders. Keyserling says a German version will soon follow. 

Globally, tensions over election cybersecurity have peaked after data breaches at political targets had a demonstrable effect on the U.S. election, leading to the resignation of a Democratic Party head, recount efforts in swing states, sanctions against Moscow and continued hearings. 

Keyserling said one of the tools successfully protected a website under constant attack during the recent Dutch elections after an attack knocked temporarily knocked the site offline earlier in the campaign using a denial of service attack. Denial of service attacks incapacitate servers by flooding them with an overwhelming amount of traffic. 

Though the DDoS attacks never stopped, Keyserling said Jigsaw and Google were able to keep the site online through its Project Shield service. 

All of the tools existed before the Protect Your Election project, but were not packaged in the same place, promoted through outreach teams for elections or translated into many of the languages necessary.