Cloudflare CEO: Dozens of U.S. states are using Athenian Project for election security


More than half of U.S. states are using Cloudflare‘s election website security service, CEO Matthew Prince told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday.

Athenian Project offers local and state governments free enterprise products to defend election infrastructures, including voter data and election return information, from cyberattacks, a critical component in a fraught political environment.

The San Francisco-based cloud cybersecurity provider launched the initiative in the wake of the divisive 2016 election cycle.

“We’ve been able to thwart a number of attacks, but we see everything is going very smoothly,” Prince said in a “Mad Money” interview. “Registrations are happening and we’re doing everything we can to ensure that the election, which is coming up, will be free and fair and … that cyber attacks will not be the lead story at the end of the day.”

Cloudflare in January expanded free access to its online security tools to political campaigns, both domestic and foreign, to help fend off hackers looking to breach online election systems. The firm says its goals are to protect voter data and election integrity, keep websites running during peak traffic and preempt website defacement.

Two notable clients include the Trump and Biden campaigns. The November contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is four weeks away, though some voters have already mailed in ballots or voted in person, as early voting programs in multiple states are underway.

“We provide services for both of the campaigns,” said Prince, founder of Cloudflare. “We’re not picking sides here at all, and we brief the campaigns as well as other government officials on what we’re seeing in terms of cyberattacks.”

The Department of Homeland Security found that nearly half of U.S. states had been targeted for cyberattacks during the 2016 election cycle, which was clouded by concerns of voter influence and misinformation campaigns on social media sites, designed to sow doubt about the U.S. election process. Many state and local governments are limited by what they can do, given tight resources and budgets.

Businesses use Cloudflare for its applications to fight distributed denial of service, or DDos, attacks that attempt to throw websites offline by sending malicious traffic their way. Hackers have reportedly doubled down on their efforts to breach Trump campaign and business sites.

“We have seen cyberattacks that are targeting the campaigns, but part of what we think is important is delivering our services … inexpensively or, in some cases, free,” Prince said.

Shares of Cloudflare slipped 1.47% in Tuesday’s session to a $42.23 close. The stock is up 148% year to date.

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