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The University of Southern California on Tuesday held the first forum in what will be a 50-state initiative to educate election and campaign officials about cybersecurity.

Trojans warn elections officials of Trojan horses

The University of Southern California on Tuesday launched what it says will be a 50-state series of workshops on cybersecurity to educate local election and campaign officials.

The first event in the school's Election Cybersecurity Initiative, funded by Google, was held in the Washington suburb of Columbia, Md.

Each program includes discussion, briefings and interactive exercises presented by educators, experts and elected officials from the area where the event is being held.

The initiative is in response to the campaign by Russian operatives during the 2016 election to hack into election and campaign computer systems and to conduct disinformation campaigns targeting candidates. A broad array of federal officials say there should be no doubt but that those efforts have become only more extensive and sophisticated in the run-up to this year's campaign — and now involve other countries.

Attendees at the sessions will learn how to protect their campaigns against disinformation and hacking threats, and how to prepare and manage a potential crisis.

"This is a complicated issue, but there are some easy steps that can mitigate immediate risks," said the project's managing director, Justin Griffin.

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