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Tech aims to help countries safeguard elections

NEW YORK - An organization affiliated with Google is offering tools that news organizations and election-related sites can use to protect themselves from hacking.

Jigsaw, a research arm of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), says that free and fair elections depend on access to information. To ensure such access, Jigsaw says, sites for news, human rights and election monitoring need to be protected from cyberattacks.

Jigsaw’s suite of free tools, called Protect Your Election, is mostly a repackaging of existing tools. One helps websites guard against denial-of-service, know as DDoS, attacks, in which hackers flood sites with so much traffic that legitimate visitors can’t get through. Others are meant to help prevent password stealing and unauthorized account access.

“These tools can help protect news organizations, human rights groups and election monitoring sites — organizations whose work is particularly critical before and during elections — from online threats like DDoS attacks, phishing and attempts to break into people’s private accounts,” Jigsaw said in a news release.

The company said about 125,000 DDoS attacks happen every week, and have also been used to target election-monitoring groups and journalists in Burma, Ecuador, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands and other countries. 

Jigsaw is touting its technology as the U.S. holds congressional hearings into whether Russia meddled with the 2016 presidential election. 

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