National Security

Google expands election security aid for federal, state campaigns

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Google announced Tuesday it is expanding its efforts around election security by providing free training to state and federal campaigns in all 50 states.

The company detailed the effort in a blog post, saying it will involve supporting nonpartisan virtual cybersecurity trainings for state and federal campaigns across the country and deploying a digital “help desk” to answer security-related questions for campaigns.

The new effort marks an expansion of Google’s work with the nonprofit group Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC), which provides free or low-cost security services to campaigns to help defend against malicious hackers. 

“Keeping everyone safe online remains our top priority and we look forward to continuing our work in 2021 to make sure campaigns and elected officials around the world stay safe online,” Mark Risher, Google’s director of product management, identity and user security, wrote in the blog post. 

During the 2020 election cycle, Google worked with DDC to provide free two-factor authentication keys to more than 140 federal campaigns, along with promoting best cyber practices for campaign employees.

Google is not the only company to work with DDC, which counts many major security and tech groups as partners, including Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Cloudflare.

The effort to secure campaigns has been heightened since the 2016 presidential election, when Russian hackers launched a sophisticated interference effort involving hacking and disinformation efforts. These efforts included targeting emails of staffers on the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Concerns around campaign security were underlined last year when a Google threat researcher reported evidence of Chinese hackers targeting employees on the campaign of now President Biden and Iranian hackers targeting campaign staffers for former President Trump.

Microsoft subsequently reported in September that it was seeing “increasing” cyberattacks from foreign adversaries directed at customers including the Biden and Trump campaigns. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also saw his presidential campaign targeted last year, telling reporters that he had been briefed on Russian interference efforts aimed at his campaign. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Computer security Cybercrime Donald Trump Election Security Google Hillary Clinton Joe Biden National security

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