A new small software company, called Area 1 Security, wants to offer prospective politicians (for the 2020 election) a free tool that prevents hackers from accessing their files. However, it is not clear whether the company's proposal for free software will be accepted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
According to information, FEC lawyers advise the committee to vote against this proposal.
In America, it is illegal to offer free products in a political campaign. This can only be done in the case where the FEC gives special permission.
Oren Falkowitz, a former hacker NSA and founder of Area 1, presents his software as a top solution for avoiding spearphishing attacks, which deceive victims with false emails, prompt them to open malicious links and then give hackers access to user data.
Such attacks had become the 2016, by hackers of the Russian army, who were able to access the Democratic National Committee's email accounts.
Falkowitz said: "Campaigns do not have the luxury of spending their money on expensive security products."
Area 1, requesting permission from FEC to offer the software, reminded the committee that last year it was licensed to microsoft Corp to "offer a package of improved security services to its customers, related to the election, at no cost."
FEC then made an exception because Microsoft was not aiming to promote a political campaign but to protect its business interests. It says Area 1 wants to do it too.
FEC then said that Microsoft was planning to offer this service for a variety of commercial reasons and above all to protect its reputation as the likelihood of customer accounts being compromised could have major consequences for the company.
However, the FEC has found that Area 1 is different from the case of Microsoft. Area 1 has not been able to demonstrate what business profit the company will have if it offers free software. According to FEC, what Area 1 offers is more like promoting a campaign policy.
The company argued that its profit was pride that it managed to solve a cyber-security problem that afflicted all Americans. However, this explanation was not sufficient.
According to the FEC, Area 1 has nothing to gain from this move, so its proposal is not acceptable.
Of course, the risk of a violation of candidates' accounts is high. The FBI has said that political campaigns are one of the top goals of local and foreign hackers.
The FEC will take its final decision on Area1 at a public hearing Thursday.