SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Microsoft wants to protect elections from meddling

When most people think of election meddling, they think of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, of bad actors usin...

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 4:48 AM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 4:48 AM

When most people think of election meddling, they think of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, of bad actors using social media to spread disinformation.

Microsoft reminded everyone this week that its services are also a rich target for hackers who want to reach candidates, campaigns, or lawmakers. The company announced it is expanding its efforts to protect open elections with its "Defending Democracy Program."

The company will offer a free added layer of security to candidates and related organizations with a service called AccountGuard. It will send out notifications when attacks are detected and help organizations take action to lock down their accounts. It will also offer cybersecurity education.

Google launched a similar product last year, called Advanced Protection, as part of a larger "Protect Your Election" push. All the offers are nonpartisan.

Offering free cybersecurity to anyone running for office or major political parties isn't entirely benevolent. Technology companies are being extra vigilant to prevent a repeat of 2016 election issues, and avoid a recreation of the dark cloud of bad news that has followed Facebook around since.

On Tuesday alone, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter each announced they had detected and removed misinformation campaigns and hacking attempts that were traced back to Iran and Russia. There was no evidence that these specific attempts were trying to sway the US midterms. However on the same day, CNN reported the Democratic National Committee contacted the FBI after it detected an attempted hack on its voter database.

For Microsoft, it could also be good marketing. While the company already has large corporate and government contracts, it's an opportunity to remind customers that it does security too.

"It's a show of their capability to say, 'We are doing this,'" said Chase Cunningham, a security and risk analyst at Forrester. "And [it's] Microsoft trying to be more well known for more than Microsoft software."

Announcing it had found and squashed a threat also looks good for the company, even if it's not incredibly significant.

"I'm glad they're willing to say 'We're standing up to stop threats.' But the reality of the problem is, this is like a drop in the Atlantic ocean," said Cunningham. "It's good to stop it but you put a band aid on an artery."

Microsoft says the program won't reveal who is signing up. Any nonprofit or non-governmental organization doing political work can apply. It will even protect people still using Hotmail.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
Jackson1640
Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 67°
Brookings
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Grants Pass
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 68°
Klamath Falls
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 63°
Heating up, staying dry
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events