Why Campaign Websites may be Targets for Cyberattacks (2 minute read)

Article author
Betty Fleming
  • Updated

Campaign websites serve a powerful role in democratic elections. 

The campaign’s public facing presence is your candidate’s brand and connection to the community. Campaigns use their websites as a portal to introduce their candidate and his or her positions as well as for fundraising, and providing valuable information to voters about how to register and vote, and where to vote.  

Because of the important role they play in campaigns and elections, websites can be a target for bad actors. If a website is vulnerable, various kinds of attacks can take place including what is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that brings a website to standstill.

Here are just some of the ways that vulnerabilities can interfere with an effective, efficient campaign: 

  • Security vulnerabilities such as weak passwords or authentication for the content management system could allow intruders to alter information such as voter registration and voting locations, post false information or disinformation about the candidate, or deface the website with objectionable messages that insult voters or cause embarrassment. 
  • Vulnerabilities to the website’s infrastructure. Should a DDoS attack occur the website might become unavailable or be degraded to a point that voters who visit campaign websites will not be able to  access important information that might convince them to vote for your candidate. 
  • Don’t forget post-election security. Right after an election or iIn the times between elections, vulnerabilities can occur or defacements or content alteration can happen as well. In a close election where the results are not yet known an attack can prevent voters from seeing results, candidates statements, or see false results posted by attackers. Between elections, websites need to be maintained including SSL Certificates.  Make sure that as the campaign ends the candidate or someone close to the candidate has the credentials to access the site.

In the 2020 campaign cycle, attacks on websites increased the closer we got to election day. The following chart provided by DDC partner Cloudflare shows this increase.

As depicted below, campaign sites saw an increase in cyber attacks that were blocked by Cloudflare in October 2020, shortly before the November election. 


All of this may sound scary, but there are 2 great products that can help you protect against this dangerous attacks - Cloudflare, and Project Shield. Click the links for more info on what they are and how they work!

Learn more: Why is Encryption Important for your website?, What is a DDoS Attack?, What is Cloudflare and How Does it Work?

How To: How Do I Set Up Cloudlflare?

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