4 March 2019

If you or your clients are political organisations, think tanks, NGOs or other essential organisations for a democratic society, Microsoft’s free AccountGuard service is worth investigating.

On 18 February 2019, the UK Parliament’s ‘Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’ published its final report on disinformation and fake news. The report makes it clear that democracies around the world, including the UK, are under sustained attack by authoritarian forces represented by foreign governments and shady private companies. The means to undermine democracies are misinformation, fake news, hacking, and covert operations in real life.

Real life and Fake News

A well researched New Yorker article explains some of the tactics being used, such as covert operations where a political candidate is caught off-guard by a woman pressing an envelope in the candidate’s hand, while a photographer with a telephoto lens across the road takes pictures. Those pictures end up on a fake news site in a fake news story implying the candidate is taking bribes.

In the US, UK and Europe

That kind of real-life, almost too outrageous to be believed, operation can be hard to avoid. But when it comes to digital self-defence, help is at hand from Microsoft.

The Redmond-based software giant wants to fight for fair elections and democracy and launched its Defending Democracy Program in April 2018. As part of this program, Microsoft is offering the free AccountGuard-service to political organisations, think tanks, NGO’s and other organisations relevant for a well-functioning democracy.

First made available in the US, it is now also available for British organisations. With the upcoming EU elections in May 2019 (and I won’t mention the B-word in this connection), Microsoft has just made it available to 12 other European countries; France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain.

For Office365, Outlook.com and Hotmail

AccountGuard offers notification about cyber threats across the organisation’s email systems and any private accounts of the organisation’s leaders and staff. Organisations can get protection for high profile people helping a campaign, board members of non-profit organisations or volunteers who use their personal accounts to communicate.

Threat detection and notification are available for Microsoft services including Office 365, Outlook.com and Hotmail.

Practical Guidance, Cybersecurity Education and Early Adopters

As part of the AccountGuard service, Microsoft offers security guidance, best practices and access to cybersecurity webinars and workshops. Organisations enrolled in the free AccountGuard service, will also get access to private previews of security features typically offered to large government and corporate customers.

Click AccountGuard to get more information and sign up for the service.

What are your thoughts?

Author: Dan Mygind

Dan is a Journalist and Computer Scientist with a strong interest in technology, technology-related businesses, and the transforming effect source code can have on society.

He has worked for startups, SMEs and global IT-organisations such as IBM as a developer, consultant, and IT-architect. With a solid technology background, he has written extensively for a wide variety of publications such as Computerworld as well as writing technical white papers for Microsoft and other companies.

He is also a published author, ‘World Storytellers

Contact Dan Mygind: mygind{at}writeit{dot}dk

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view and opinion of Curo Services.

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