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Technology Companies Sign On To Offer Free or Discounted Cybersecurity Services to Campaigns

Seventeen companies, including Microsoft and Cloudflare, are offering security assistance to federal campaigns that often cannot afford the services themselves.

More than a dozen technology companies have committed to providing free or reduced-cost cybersecurity services to secure cash-strapped campaigns at high risk of cyber attacks from hackers and foreign adversaries, including Russia and Iran.

The Federal Election Commission gave the go-ahead for California company Area 1 to offer discounted cyber services to campaigns in a July ruling. In the past, companies were typically forbidden by federal law from offering these services because they are considered “in-kind” contributions to campaigns.

In the wake of the ruling, the newly formed nonprofit Defending Digital Campaigns obtained special permission from the FEC to offer low-to-no cost services to eligible federal campaigns. Most campaigns do not have the resources to hire their own in-house cybersecurity staff or even outsource those services.

The organization was founded by Matt Rhoades and Robby Mook, the campaign managers for 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, respectively.

“As we head into the 2020 cycle, we’re building something with a real, long-term impact for campaigns, regardless of party affiliation,” Rhoades said in October when announcing the creation of the nonprofit.

In addition to pushing cybersecurity organizations to offer their services to campaigns, DDC helps companies navigate campaign-finance regulations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ten new companies signed on to the effort on Thursday, joining seven existing partner companies that includes Area 1. The new additions, which offer a specific set of capabilities to campaigns, are: Altitude Networks, Atlantic Data Forensics, BlueVoyant, Cloudflare, Cofense, Kryptowire, Microsoft, Rumble, TruSTAR and Yubico.

“These companies understand the critical importance that securing campaigns plays in protecting our democracy and have demonstrated great generosity and thoughtfulness in how to best bring cybersecurity products into the complex campaign environment,” Michael Kaiser, the DDC’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Microsoft and other companies say they were already assisting campaigns with security and are expanding their efforts with DDC.

“We think this will help increase adoption of these services,” Ginny Badanes, the director of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program, told the Journal.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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