Jigsaw, the cybersecurity-focused division owned by Google parent Alphabet, is now allowing political organizations in Europe to sign up for its anti-web-flooding technology for free. Until now, the free-to-use technology designed to protect political campaigns and websites against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks — dubbed Project Shield — was only available to news sites and journalists, human rights sites and elections monitoring sites in the U.S. Now, Jigsaw is extending those protections to European political operators ahead of contentious parliamentary elections later this year. The anti-DDoS technology aims to protect websites and services from being pummeled with tons of junk internet traffic from multiple sources at once. It protects against several types of DDoS attacks — and not just the traditional layer 3 or 4 protocol-based attacks but also the more powerful layer 7 attacks that involve large volume, often thanks to DNS amplification.
By caching a website, the technology absorbs a lot of the malicious traffic, and filtering harmful traffic keeps sites running.
Jigsaw’s move comes at a time when highly anticipated elections are expected to adjust political powers across the continent — particularly in what’s left of the European Union, after the controversial British departure from the EU, known as “Brexit.” Anti-political actors and nation-state hackers have long worked hard in Europe to disrupt elections and sow discord in an effort to discredit results.
Some have outright launched flooding attacks to down websites at a time when they’re most needed.