To Improve Voting Machine Security, Microsoft Will Give Away Software

July 18, 2019 AT 7:50 AM

By Ken Dilanian

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it would give away software designed to improve the security of American voting machines, even as the tech giant said it had tracked 781 cyberattacks by foreign adversaries targeting political organizations so far this election cycle.

The company said it was rolling out the free, open-source software product called ElectionGuard, which it said uses encryption to "enable a new era of secure, verifiable voting." The company is working with election machine vendors and local governments to deploy the system in a pilot program for the 2020 election.

The system uses an encrypted tracking code to allow a voter to verify that his or her vote has been recorded and has not been tampered with, Microsoft said in a blog post.

Its announcement was timed to coincide with the Aspen Security Forum, an annual conference of current and former intelligence, defense and homeland security officials that kicks off Wednesday in Aspen, Colorado — co-sponsored by Microsoft and others. NBC News is a media partner of the forum.

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