Helping keep elections safe and secure

As we look to the 2020 U.S. elections, we are reminded that having an Internet be secure and accessible for campaigns and citizens alike is critical to our democracy. At Cloudflare, we support the security of election system infrastructure by providing security, performance, and reliability to eligible state and local government websites, in addition to political campaign websites, for free.

Helping build a better Internet

At Cloudflare, our mission is to help build a better Internet. The Internet plays a key role in promoting democracy and ensuring constituents’ access to information. By offering free support to groups within the election ecosystem, we preserve citizens’ confidence in the electoral process, promote transparency, and encourage voter participation.

Athenian Project Case Studies

Missouri Secretary of State

“There is only so much you can plan and test in terms of preparedness on the security side and after implementing Cloudflare and many other security precautions, we felt confident we had a security platform in place where we could adjust and respond to threats and high demand in real-time.” Learn how the Missouri Secretary of State used Cloudflare to protect their web infrastructure during the 2020 U.S. election.

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Solano County, California

“Trust is a fundamental part of the democratic process.” Learn how Solano County uses Cloudflare to keep their website secure and reliable to promote trust in the electoral process.

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Implementing security, reliability, and performance- seamlessly

Trevor and Rich, CIO and CTO respectively at the Colorado Secretary of State, have been implementing new technology for decades and are always looking for the best resources to protect the state's election website. The Athenian Project allows them to effortlessly protect their election infrastructure with security and performance tools strong enough to block large scale DDoS attacks or unexpected spikes in traffic.

Helping state and local governments promote trust in the election process.

As an Auditor and Commissioner of Elections of Scott County, Iowa, Roxanna knows the importance of empowering voters to participate in elections and promote trust in the electoral process. Understanding the threat that cybersecurity attacks can have on voter confidence, the Athenian Project helps Roxanna secure the county’s election website and ultimately give comfort to voters.

Protecting an election website with limited resources

For Randy, CIO for Rowan County, North Carolina, election season means all hands on deck for IT staff in order to secure their .gov site that provides accurate, secure information to voters. The Athenian Project helped him tackle a 400% increase in traffic on a limited budget in order to refocus resources on other county initiatives.

The Athenian Project

The Athenian Project was created to ensure that state and local governments have the highest level of protection and reliability for free so that their constituents have access to election information and voter registration.

Project Athenain
It's easy for the public to see a lock and know that they have extra protection. It's really important that people understand that we have that lock on our door. And Cloudflare is that lock.
Roxanna Moritz
Auditor and Commissioner of Elections, Scott County, Iowa
Election Security Athenian icon 1

On election night, traffic spikes 4x to government election websites.

Oftentimes, election websites experience periods of high traffic, often referred to as network spikes.

Unmetered Mitigation of DDoS: With 200 cities across 95 countries and 37 Tbps of capacity, Cloudflare’s Anycast network absorbs and quickly routes incoming traffic to the nearest data center with the capacity to process the request efficiently, handling surges in web traffic due to voter registration deadlines and election result updates.

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On average, government election sites experience 122,475 threats per day.

Security vulnerabilities can cause these sites to become unavailable or spread false information about how to register to vote and election results.

Shared Network Intelligence: Cloudflare’s global distributed network enables us to curate a threat score by evaluating 1B+ IPs and analyzing digital signatures. Government election sites are kept secure with an advanced web application firewall, unlimited custom rulesets and I'm Under Attack™ mode.

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On average, government election sites experience 199 SQLi attempts per day.

There are a number of actions an attacker can take exploiting SQL injections including stealing, accessing, editing, and content in a database. This can lead to the theft of data, including voter data.

Brute Force Protection: Cloudflare’s WAF enables protection against malicious attacks that aim to exploit vulnerabilities including SQLi, and XSS. The WAF includes OWASP and proprietary Cloudflare rulesets, and support for custom Firewall Rules.

Cloudflare for Campaigns

To assist campaigns in increasing their cybersecurity posture, we launched Cloudflare for Campaigns, a suite of Cloudflare products focused on the needs of political campaigns, particularly smaller campaigns that don’t have the in-house resources.

Cloudflare for Campaigns
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On average, political campaigns experience 4,949 attacks per day.

Campaign websites are vulnerable to attacks, which can lead to the theft of data, including data from donors and other supporters.

Anycast Content Delivery Network: To protect campaign websites and internal teams, Cloudflare for Campaigns offers DDoS protection through free Business level services which include custom WAF and firewall rules, country blocking, captcha challenges, regular expression blocking, spam, and comment protection, and user-agent blocking.

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Cloudflare mitigated 77,192,840 threats to campaign websites over 6 months.

Bad actors can create bots that interfere with campaign websites. Common types of abuse include content scraping and account takeover, which can lead to increases in operational costs and data loss.

IP reputation database: IPs that perform malicious actions can be tracked with a global reputation system. An IP reputation database enables shared network intelligence and predictive security to identify and block abusive bots.

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From May to June 2020, we have seen a 187% increase in threats to political campaign websites.

Bad actors can target campaign websites with DDoS attacks, disrupting campaign operations and fundraising efforts.

Protect your Network: To ensure reliable uptime, we offer free rate limiting, load balancing, and a security guide tailored to securing your political campaign website. To support campaigns, we provide “I Am Under Attack” services and election security email aliases with an escalation path to Cloudflare’s security team.


Blog Post | Election Cybersecurity: Preparing for the 2020 U.S. Elections

Blog Post | Election Cybersecurity: Preparing for the 2020 U.S. Elections

At Cloudflare, our mission is to help build a better Internet. As we look to the upcoming 2020 U.S. elections, we are reminded that having the Internet be trusted, secure, reliable, and accessible for campaigns and citizens alike is critical to our democracy. Read more

Blog Post | The Two-Year Anniversary of The Athenian Project

Blog Post | The Two-Year Anniversary of The Athenian Project

We believe the Internet plays a helpful role in democracy and ensuring constituents’ right to information. By helping state and local government election websites, we ensure the protection of voters’ voices, preserve citizens’ confidence in the democratic process, and enhance voter participation. Read more

Blog Post | The Athenian Project: Helping Protect Elections

Blog Post | The Athenian Project: Helping Protect Elections

The Athenian Project is designed to protect state and local government websites tied to elections and voter data from cyberattack, and keep them online. Read more

Blog Post | Introducing Cloudflare for Campaigns

Blog Post | Introducing Cloudflare for Campaigns

Cloudflare for Campaigns is designed to make it easier for all political campaigns and parties, especially those with small teams and limited resources, to get access to cybersecurity services. Read more