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Google offers free cyber protection to US political groups

Google offers free cyber protection to US political groups
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Jigsaw, a company owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, is offering free cybersecurity protection to U.S.-based political organizations.

The company said Wednesday it will offer political groups registered with election authorities — including candidates, campaigns, 527 organizations and political action committees — its Project Shield service. The service protects against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are used to take down websites.

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The project previously focused on giving journalists, human rights groups and election board sites free DDoS protection.

“Any political organization, regardless of size or significance, is potentially at risk,” George Conard, a product manager at Jigsaw, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “It’s critical to provide support to those smaller, more vulnerable political groups that don’t have the financial or technical resources to do it themselves.”

Conrad said DDoS attacks have been increasing in recent years, justifying added protections.

Jigsaw’s initiative comes after increased concerns over election security issues following Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections, including through social media.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have expressed concerns that foreign actors may again try to meddle in the 2018 midterms.

Other countries have also faced problems with foreign actors interfering in elections.