Microsoft extends free program to protect political campaigns from cyberattacks to Canada


Microsoft has expanded a program meant to protect political candidates and groups to Canada, the company announced Thursday.

AccountGuard, which is included in Microsoft’s Defending Democracy program, is now available to think tanks, political groups and candidates, the president of Microsoft Canada Kevin Peesker wrote in a post.

The program offers free cybersecurity protections for users with existing Microsoft Office 365 products, including monitoring for potential hacking attempts by nation-state actors.

The service is already offered to similar groups in the United States, the U.K. and Ireland.

Peekser wrote in his post that “threats to the democratic process have become a critical concern around the world and it is clear that the tech sector will need to do more to help protect the democratic process.”

Microsoft is among several tech firms offering free cybersecurity products to campaigns and political groups, in the wake of the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Federal officials have said the protections, which are often offered for free to the political groups, can be helpful. But they have also suggested that too many of the services have become available in recent months, leaving campaigns unsure of which is the best option to help secure themselves against cyberattacks.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE last year indicted Russian military officers in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, which led to the release of damaging emails in the lead-up to that year’s presidential election.

The DNC alleged in a recent court filing that it was again targeted by Russian hackers after the 2018 midterm elections.

And Microsoft said in August that it had shut down several fake websites created by Russian actors that appeared to target the Senate and a pair of conservative think tanks. A company executive earlier revealed that Microsoft had uncovered and helped to stop hacking attempts on three congressional candidates in the midterm races.

However, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security said earlier this week that it had no evidence of a foreign entity having any “material impact” on the results of the midterms.





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