Strong passwords won’t save democracy, but they certainly can help protect it.
In anticipation of the 2018 US midterm elections, the cybersecurity company 1Password is offering free accounts to anyone who is “running for office, ensuring elections run fairly, or protecting people’s rights.” It’s a clever marketing hook, but also a serious offer that underscores increasing concerns about the connection between cybersecurity and fair elections.
Of course, services like 1Password, which will generate strong passwords for digital accounts and allow users to securely share them with other members of their team, cannot singlehandedly protect public officials from the threat of bad actors. From outdated voting machines to political influence campaigns on social media, there are many digital vulnerabilities in campaign politics beyond the safety of candidates’ passwords.
But if we expect candidates to keep our information secure once they reach political office, they at least should be keeping their own sensitive information protected while they’re on the campaign trail.