cyber

Cybersecurity firm Symantec on Tuesday said it is offering a free service to enable political candidates and campaigns test the security and authenticity of their websites.

The AI-driven technology analyzes websites in Symantec’s telemetry, and if it discovers a spoofed version of the legitimate site, the company will notify the organization with details.

Attracting unsuspecting users to fake websites that contain minor, undetectable differences from legitimate websites, is a popular technique that cyber criminals use to gather personal information, such as birth dates, email addresses, and voting preferences.

That data can then be weaponized to influence behavior and attitudes, spread false information, or be harvested for cyber crime.

The websites of candidates, state election commissions, and other political organizations are a prime target for malicious actors seeking to influence the outcome of the upcoming U.S. midterm elections, as well as other global electoral processes.

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“Symantec has been focused on election security for many years, but given the gravity of the current security landscape, we are compelled to raise awareness and make it easy for relevant parties to participate in ensuring the integrity of the upcoming election,” said Greg Clark, CEO, Symantec in a prepared statement.

“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.”