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Identity & Access

Microsoft Boosts Protections for US AccountGuard Users

Microsoft has announced improved identity and access management protections for AccountGuard users in the United States, ahead of the 2020 elections.

Microsoft has announced improved identity and access management protections for AccountGuard users in the United States, ahead of the 2020 elections.

Part of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program, AccountGuard was introduced in 2018 to “protect organizations that underpin democracy from cyberattacks.” Initially available to candidates for federal, state and local office in the United States and their campaigns, the service has since arrived in over a dozen other countries as well.

Now, Microsoft is announcing enterprise-grade identity and access management protections for AccountGuard users in the U.S., at no cost.

Along with other capabilities, AccountGuard now provides members with multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, conditional access policies, privileged identity management (PIM), and access governance.

Thus, candidates and their campaigns are better protected from phishing and can safely and securely access cloud apps, while access to specific resources is provided only to the right people, and security teams can monitor and control that access to avoid breaches.

Additionally, the tech giant announced a partnership with Yubico, so that AccountGuard customers have access to phishing-resistant security keys. Microsoft says it will work with democracy-focused non-profit organizations and think tanks who are AccountGuard members to help them leverage these protections.

“For political campaigns and committees, these services will be offered through Defending Digital Campaigns, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that has been authorized by the Federal Elections Commission to provide campaigns with free or low-cost technology from a variety of companies,” the tech company says.

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Yubico will provide 10 YubiKey 5 series security keys for free to any AccountGuard-covered organization, for a limited time, and up to 40 additional keys at half the normal price. These keys can be used on compatible computers or phones.

“We know that many political campaigns do not have dedicated IT support staff, and today’s news comes with hands-on help for those that need it. Deployment assistance for the technologies in today’s news will be provided to AccountGuard customers as an included benefit through our FastTrack program or through our FastTrack-ready partners,” Microsoft also notes.

U.S.-based AccountGuard customers are getting these protections first, ahead of the 2020 election, but Microsoft will also be exploring the option of bringing them to other countries as well.

Related: Microsoft to Provide Free Security Updates for Voting Systems Running Windows 7

Related: Microsoft Launches New Solutions to Protect Elections From Hacking

Related: Microsoft Says Russian Hackers Targeted Democratic Institutions in Europe

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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