The cybersecurity firm at the center of the FEC decision is Area 1, a California-based company specializing in phishing. Founded in 2013 by a group of former NSA hackers, the security provider continually scans the web for signs of phishing and claims to be able to scan 6 billion URLs and 4.8 billion phishing scans. IP addresses every two weeks, according to a report released in March Network world. Last December, the cabinet had successfully discovered a phishing attack against the Foreign Ministry in Cyprus that had compromised the entire EU diplomatic communications network.
Area 51 first contacted the FEC in June and asked to provide free services to political candidates. The security provider cited a decision from the FEC in 2018 authorizing Microsoft to offer a free account to political candidates. In the case of Microsoft, Microsoft could damage its reputation in the long term if its customers were hacked. But the FEC was unsure whether the same case applied to Zone 1, which seemed to have no advantage in offering cheap cybersecurity to candidates (aside from political favors).
But the FEC changed pace after discovering that Area 51 would simply offer candidates the same inexpensive services as regular applicants. In its decision, the FEC stated that Sector 1 could charge applicants a lump sum of $ 1,337 for its phishing services "as this would be in the normal course of activities in Zone 1 and under applicable terms and conditions. to non-political services of the same situation.
Hopefully this latest decision from the FEC will facilitate collaboration between campaigns and cybersecurity providers. After the electoral interference in the elections of 2016 and 2018, it is clear that the campaigns will need all possible help.