Symantec offers free website spoofing protection for US midterm elections

After Microsoft and Facebook, now Symantec, too, offers free security tools for election officials and midterm candidates.

Symantec, one of the largest US-based cyber-security firms, has launched today a free security service for candidates and political campaigns involved in the US 2018 midterm elections.

The service is a website spoofing detection system that alerts candidates, political organizations, or election committees when someone registers a domain using various names and brands associated with that particular political figure, campaign, or election agency.

Also: How political campaigns use big data to get out the vote TechRepublic

The idea is to let candidates and organizations know when a threat actor is attempting to fool and lure users onto fake websites, either for phishing financial information via donation forms or for collecting credentials from staffers that can be used to access a campaign's internal network.

Symantec says the service will be available starting today, and any organization involved in elections all over the world can sign up for it via a dedicated portal.

"The issues that plagued the 2016 election are still prevalent today and are likely to continue to persist through the midterm elections, into 2020, and into elections globally. It is important for all parties, public and private, to contribute to protecting the security and integrity of our elections and democracy," Greg Clark, Symantec CEO said today in a press release.

Also: US lawmakers introduce bill to fight cybersecurity workforce shortage

Symantec says this new service is powered by Project Dolphin, the company's artificial intelligence (AI) spoof proof service.

"This AI-driven technology analyzes websites in Symantec's massive telemetry and if it discovers a spoofed version of the legitimate site, the company will notify the organization with details," the company said today.

Symantec's free website spoofing service is just the latest in a long line of free tools made available to election candidates and organizations.

Microsoft launched a similar service for election entities, also free, at the end of August, called AccountGuard. Free tools, such as electionBuster, have also been available for campaigns and election officials since 2016.

Also: What to expect from cyber-attacks during an election year TechRepublic

Yesterday, Facebook launched a new pilot program also aimed at election entities. This program offers upgraded cybersecurity protections for Facebook accounts associated with candidates and elected officials.

Microsoft launched AccountGuard in August after one of the company's execs said at a conference that Microsoft detected the first attempts to influence the US 2018 midterm elections, and after the Redmond-based firm used a court order to take over six phishing domains operated by Russian intelligence that were trying to hack US politicians in the lead-up to the midterms.

Also: Lyft will offer discounted rides to voters during midterm elections CNET

Also in August, Reuters reported that the FBI was also investigating cyber-attacks on the congressional campaign of a Democratic candidate in California.

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