Alphabet said on Tuesday that Jigsaw, the company’s unit dedicated to making the world safer using technology, has decided to expand its Project Shield Technology, which is designed to shield against distributed denial of services attacks to political organizations, candidates and campaigns in Europe.
At present, Project Shield is protecting news and human rights organizations from all kinds of cyber-attacks, which engulf the servers with fake traffic to ensure genuine requests don’t get answered. In May 2018, the technology started protecting participating U.S. political organizations and is expected to be at work in European Parliament elections in May this year.
DDOS attacks are increasingly becoming more troublesome, following repeated incidences in recent time. In 2017, the statistical office of Czech Republic become the key target of hackers, as it was counting votes. According to Jigsaw, attackers also targeted Constitutional Court in Spain, amid disputes between the central government in Spain and the regional government in Catalonia.
Scott Carpenter, director of policy and international engagement at Jigsaw said that during Mexico’s election last year attackers tried to overload party websites in real time and were mentioned during televised debates.
He mentioned that the DDOS attack cases are on rise across myriad threat vectors, and elections are highly vulnerable critical events which must be secured from all kinds of hacks.
Carpenter added that the Jigsaw offering belongs to a massive Protect Your Election effort, which also provides training and Google account security tools to journalists, candidates, and officials. It also offers a tool named Perspective, which can identify abusive online comments automatically.
There are many companies taking up initiatives focused on election integrity. For instance, the social giant Facebook took steps to increase the ad transparency and control fake accounts and abusive information following the 2016 U.S. election related controversies. Besides, Microsoft owns a Defending Democracy Program designed to keep candidates from hacking, to make election operations attack proof and to fight disinformation.
Santosh Kumar is a respected voice in the ICT domain. He has authored over 30 studies pertaining to cloud, cybersecurity, AI, and Big Data.