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Biden transition team forced to build its own cybersecurity protections

Biden transition team forced to build its own cybersecurity protections


It uses a standard Google Workspace network

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President-Elect Biden And VP-Elect Harris Deliver Remarks In Wilmington, DE
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to take over from President Donald Trump, but his transition team isn’t getting the level of cybersecurity support usually provided by outgoing administrations, according to The Wall Street Journal. That could mean Biden’s team is more vulnerable to cyberattacks than if it had the full support and resources of the federal government.

Typically, a departing administration would help the transition team with things like setting up government email accounts and making sure those accounts are protected, reports The Wall Street Journal. But the Trump administration has stopped federal agencies from providing that support, leaving the Biden transition team to take care of its own cybersecurity.

The team uses a paid Google Workspace network, though all accounts are enrolled in both Google’s Advanced Protection Program and Google’s Enhanced Protection Program, the transition team tells The Verge. All staffers are required to use physical security keys to log in to accounts, which can improve security. Information is stored on shared drives with restricted access. And staffers have been briefed on security best practices.

“We are preparing to govern during a global pandemic and an economic recession, all while working remotely,” a transition official said in a statement to The Verge. “From the outset of the transition, we have invested in best-in-class IT systems and processes.”

A White House spokesperson said the Trump administration is “following all statutory requirements” but did not specify what those requirements were.

While the presidential election was widely called for Joe Biden on November 7th, Trump has still not conceded. And his administration isn’t just blocking cybersecurity transition efforts. It’s also holding up federal planning for a COVID-19 vaccine, an effort that has taken on increased urgency after promising results from vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna.