Google and Jigsaw offer cyber security to election groups

Tech companies provide free ‘Protect Your Election’ package to secure elections

During elections, it's crucial that everyone has access to full, accurate information. Alphabet subsidiaries Jigsaw is teaming up with Google in an effort to make elections more secure.

The collaborative "Protect Your Election" package offers a bundle of free security tools designed to help publishers, journalists, NGOs and election monitoring sites protect themselves against digital attacks.

For protection from unauthorised access, the toolkit offers 2-Step Verification, which involves creating a security key that'll be requested after entering a password. The key will be sent to the user's phone via text, voice call, or generated within the mobile app. This way, if someone was able to get through the password layer, they would still need access to the user's phone or security key to get into the account.

The toolkit also uses password protection services to ward off phishing attacks. Password Alert, a free Chrome extension, checks every page someone visits and alerts them if they appear to have entered their Google Account password anywhere other than Google's sign-in page.

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Although these services seem like baseline protection at most, Protect Your Election also offers more complex protection from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. 

"As a free set of tools, some of them may not be up to much," said Clive Longbottom, industry analyst and founder of Quocirca, "but the anti-DDoS capability is really powerful and is already proven as working in the markets."

This anti-DDoS feature comes from Jigsaw's Project Shield, which uses Google technology to protect news sites and free expression from DDoS attacks. The service works by blocking malicious online traffic and using a reverse proxy to filter such traffic, preventing attacks from reaching a website's server.

"As DDoS has been one of the greatest tools used in the bad guys' arsenal, spiking this could be a major win," Longbottom noted.

According to Reuters, news websites, human rights websites, and election monitoring sites and eligible to apply for the full package, but candidates and campaigns are not eligible to apply for DDoS protection.

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