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Free software from Google aims to protect political candidates from cyberattacks

Jigsaw, the search giant’s experimental incubator, will provide free cybersecurity protection to political campaigns.

The news: Candidates can now sign up for Project Shield, a program created by Jigsaw, an incubator owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The software protects websites from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which overload websites with bogus traffic.

How it works: Traffic is quickly scanned for malicious intent, and anything that looks suspicious is denied.

Some background: Jigsaw has been offering this service for more than two years to journalists, small publications, and human rights groups. It is currently used to protect about 700 websites.

Why it matters: The software can mitigate meddling in elections and help ensure equal access to information on all candidates. "I would anticipate that we’ll see some spikes as different primaries crop up, so we’ll help anyone at any time, but the sooner people get protected the better,” George Conard, Project Shield’s product manager, told Wired. “This isn’t something to wait until the last minute to do."

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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