As the United States prepares for the midterm elections in November, Microsoft has some reassuring news for us. They are going to offer free cybersecurity applications and tools to political candidates, campaign organizations, and technology vendors, as long as they already use Office 365. Having already dealt with “espionage-related phishing attacks” this past year, Microsoft is hoping to prevent and thwart any cybersecurity breaches that may occur. It’s basically the 24-hour IT support hotline everyone has dreamed of, but instead of fixing your broken internet at 3 AM, it’s protecting the democratic process of voting.
IT Support to the Rescue!
Microsoft AccountGaurd, featuring threat detection and security guidance, was created specifically for political organizations and candidates to adopt in the near future, because many US counties don’t have active IT staff at hand. Currently, it is unclear if AccountGaurd is available to civilians not actively participating in political organizations; however, it is likely there will be an application released in the future for civil society. When Microsoft announced their “Defending Democracy Program” in April of 2018, they stated that governments, technology companies, academia, and US civilians are going to be the main users of their future cybersecurity applications.
The AccountGuard Initiative is an important part of Microsoft’s attempt to promote cyberdiplomacy nationwide and support their Cybersecurity Tech Accord. The aim of this agreement between Microsoft and 44 other leading tech companies is to improve the durability of cyberspace and empower civilians online. As IT support professionals, we are here to help people and their technology, so we really like to see this cooperation which isn’t always forthcoming in our industry. This tech accord is super cool, because large corporations are already filling the cracks of the internet’s global routing system.
Don’t Forget Your MANRS
The Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (aka MANRS) is an initiative focused on eliminating common routing threats. Route hijacking, route leaks, and IP address spoofing are all issues that can cause significant repercussions for companies. So, MANRS outlined four objectives in order to reduce and eliminate these common threats. And they are: filtering, anti-spoofing, coordination, and global validation.
August 9th, 2018, the Cybersecurity Tech Accord endorsed the MANRS initiative, taking their first step toward changing the online environment. More than 14,000 routing attacks occurred in 2017. And it involves everything, especially cryptocurrency. So, what can you do to secure your Bitcoins? Support or join MANRS, because they are committed to fixing the cracks of the global routing infrastructure. Or you could just send your Bitcoins to our wallet, and we can keep an eye on them for you!
A Safer (Cyber)World
Securing and optimizing online activity is a huge job. And it’s going to require everyone’s help, which is why many pro-bono tech services are already helping out election officials. Not much can be said about their impact, because everything has been kept under wraps, but we can assume it is better than nothing. IT support for political organizations is truly a crucial component that tends to be neglected, until something goes wrong. This is why Microsoft has chosen to become a leading company for addressing cybersecurity issues in regards to elections and actively promoting cyberdiplomacy. But they don’t want to do it alone. In order to create a safer cyberworld, then all IT agencies, tech companies, political organizations, and individuals have to work together. And we’re going to have to get our collective heads out of our mothers’ basements in order to do so.
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