With a major election cycle less than a year away, Cloudflare says it's working with politicians in the US to secure their campaigns against cyberattacks through a program called Cloudflare for Campaigns. The service, which includes protection against denial-of-service (DDoS) attempts, is available to both House and Senate candidates for free as long as they meet specific fundraising requirements. House candidates will need to show at least $50,000 in donation receipts, while those running for a Senate seat will need $100,000 in donations. Presidential hopefuls are also eligible as long as they're polling above five percent nationally. Cloudflare says it will also offer the program for a fee to political campaigns outside of the US, as well those that don't meet the free requirements in the US.
"This is our way of providing best practices and no-brainer solutions to not only large campaigns, but also smaller, but equally important campaigns that may have limited resources," said Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince.
To provide the service, Cloudflare is working with Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC), a non-partisan nonprofit organization that connects US election candidates with cybersecurity companies. In 2019, the Federal Elections Commission gave the DDC a special exemption to offer free or discounted cybersecurity services to political campaigns. As part of the agreement, the organization will publish a list on its website where you'll be able to see which campaigns it helped with cybersecurity services, as well as the value of those services. Besides Cloudflare, the group is also working with companies like Lookout to help secure their mobile devices.
While the tools the DDC makes available to campaigns likely won't completely protect the 2020 election from the type of interference we saw in 2016, it's a needed step in the right direction. It's likely many election campaigns, both in the US and elsewhere, will have to contend with interference from state-sponsored actors.