Microsoft wants to protect elections from meddling

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Microsoft stops Kremlin-based hackers

When most individuals consider election meddling, they consider Fb, Twitter and YouTube, of unhealthy actors utilizing social media to unfold disinformation.

Microsoft (MSFT) reminded everybody this week that its companies are additionally a wealthy goal for hackers who wish to attain candidates, campaigns, or lawmakers. The corporate introduced it’s increasing its efforts to guard open elections with its “Defending Democracy Program.”

The corporate will supply a free added layer of safety to candidates and associated organizations with a service known as AccountGuard. It would ship out notifications when assaults are detected and assist organizations take motion to lock down their accounts. It would additionally supply cybersecurity training.

Google (GOOG) launched an identical product final 12 months, known as Superior Safety, as half of a bigger “Defend Your Election” push. All of the affords are nonpartisan.

Providing free cybersecurity to anybody working for workplace or main political events is not completely benevolent. Know-how corporations are being additional vigilant to forestall a repeat of 2016 election points, and keep away from a recreation of the darkish cloud of unhealthy information that has adopted Fb round since.

On Tuesday alone, Microsoft, Fb (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) every introduced they’d detected and eliminated misinformation campaigns and hacking makes an attempt that had been traced again to Iran and Russia. There was no proof that these particular makes an attempt had been attempting to sway the US midterms. Nevertheless on the identical day, CNN reported the Democratic Nationwide Committee contacted the FBI after it detected an tried hack on its voter database.

For Microsoft, it is also good advertising. Whereas the corporate already has giant company and authorities contracts, it is a chance to remind prospects that it does safety too.

“It is a present of their functionality to say, ‘We’re doing this,'” stated Chase Cunningham, a safety and danger analyst at Forrester. “And [it’s] Microsoft attempting to be extra well-known for greater than Microsoft software program.”

Asserting it had discovered and squashed a menace additionally seems good for the corporate, even when it is not extremely vital.

“I am glad they’re prepared to say ‘We’re standing as much as cease threats.’ However the actuality of the issue is, this is sort of a drop within the Atlantic ocean,” stated Cunningham. “It is good to cease it however you set a band help on an artery.”

Microsoft says this system will not reveal who’s signing up. Any nonprofit or non-governmental group doing political work can apply. It would even shield folks nonetheless utilizing Hotmail.

CNNMoney (San Francisco) First revealed August 22, 2018: 5:02 PM ET

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