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Google expands election security aid for federal, state campaigns

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. 

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“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 ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCommunion vote puts spotlight on Hispanic Catholics Trump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them MORE

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 BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE and Iranian hackers targeting campaign staffers for former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE.

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 SandersBernie SandersSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure 'framework' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden is keeping the filibuster to have 'a Joe Manchin presidency' On The Money: Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction | Yellen pleads with Congress to raise debt ceiling MORE (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.