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Following the European Parliament elections in May, Google is extending its DDoS protection service Project Shield to the European Union. The service is made available free of charge to political parties and organisations involved in election campaigns and the electoral process.

Project Shield comes from Jigsaw, the technology incubator that Google founded in 2016 and now operates as a sister company under Alphabet. The service was also launched in 2016 and has so far only been available to human rights and news organisations. Now any European political organisation involved in the upcoming elections at the end of May can also register for the DDoS protection free of charge. That’s what Jigsaw announces in a blog post.

Impact DDoS increases

DDoS attacks can disrupt the electoral process, silence political opponents online, or divert from a more serious attack. In the Czech Republic, for example, the October 2017 parliamentary elections were disrupted by a DDoS attack, in which the statistical office was hit while the votes were being counted. Around the same time, in Spain, the website of the Constitutional Court was brought to its knees by a DDoS attack, just as the Spanish government was preparing to take over the power of the regional government in Catalonia.

These are some examples from the recent past, but the impact of DDoS attacks is only increasing. Although Kaspersky observed a decrease in the number of DDoS attacks in 2018 (-13%), the complexity and scale is increasing. At the end of last year, we already explained in more detail why DDoS attacks are getting bigger and bigger.

Project Shield is built on Google’s infrastructure and protects against DDoS attacks using a reverse proxy multi-layered defense system. This means that requests from end users first come through Project Shield, where our infrastructure can filter out malicious traffic. The legitimate requests are then passed on to the publisher’s website, clarifying the Jigsaw team.

Protect Your Election

The Shield service is part of a broader initiative called Protect Your Election. This is a collection of free tools that not only help political organizations to ward off DDoS attacks, but also protect against phishing and unauthorized account access, among other things.

Jigsaw sends teams to election countries to train key institutions and campaigns on the use of common digital security tools, concludes Scott Carpenter, Director of Policy and International Engagement at Jigsaw.

Related: Why DDoS attacks are getting bigger and bigger

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.