Google announced Tuesday its plans to expand free election security services to elected officials and political campaigns across the country.
During the 2020 election cycle, the tech company, in collaboration with the nonprofit Defending Digital Campaigns, provided cybersecurity support to federal campaigns. Google's new 50-state venture builds on this by expanding services to eligible campaigns and political parties, committees and related organizations, as well as elected officials and their staff.
While election security concerns took a backseat in last year's election to the more pressing problems presented by the coronavirus pandemic, cybersecurity will remain a critical issue for campaigns in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms and beyond.
Last year, Google and Defending Digital Campaigns provided more than 140 federal campaigns with free two-factor authentication keys to help protect against phishing and other cyber attacks. Defending Digital Campaigns also partners with Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and several other tech companies to provide cybersecurity services and protection.
In addition to continuing its technological support for political campaigns, Google and Defending Digital Campaigns will also provide free, virtual security training in all 50 states by the end of this year. Through these sessions, state campaign officials and staff members will be able to learn the basics of how to protect their organizations, keep their information safe and use security tools.
Google will also establish an election security help desk and "best practices" knowledge base as a resource for campaigns and to help answer their cybersecurity-related questions.
The tech company, in partnership with the National Cybersecurity Center, is extending its support to elected officials as well by providing virtual training sessions in all 50 states throughout this year. The goal is to educate state lawmakers and their staff on how to safeguard against digital attacks.
"Keeping everyone safe online remains our top priority and we look forward to continuing our work in 2021 to make sure campaigns and elected officials around the world stay safe online," Mark Risher, director of product management, identity and user security at Google, wrote in the company's announcement.
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