The Redmond, Washington-based company said that it thwarted two “spear fishing” attempts last week by hackers that tried to mimic the web pages of the International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute. Users were redirected to bogus URLs in the hopes they would enter their login credentials, which the hackers could then steal.
In a blog post, Microsoft says it’s concerned that attacks targeting political sites will only increase in the lead-up to 2018 midterms, so it’s announcing a new initiative called Microsoft AccountGuard:
This initiative will provide state-of-the-art cybersecurity protection at no extra cost to all candidates and campaign offices at the federal, state and local level, as well as think tanks and political organizations we now believe are under attack. The technology is free of charge to candidates, campaigns and related political institutions using Office 365.
Microsoft is just the latest tech giant to offer free or low-cost security to help the government defend itself from foreign interference in U.S. elections. Others include Google and Cloudflare.