Civil liberties organisations are being targeted by cybercriminals as protests over the murder of George Floyd intensify.
As protests spread across the world following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, statistics gathered by Cloudflare identified an increasing level of cyber attacks against civil liberties organisations fighting racism.
The security provider analysed HTTP requests blocked over the last week in comparison to the corresponding week in April a month before. It was found that on the weekend of April 25 and 26, Cloudflare blocked 116,317,347,341 HTTP requests performing DDoS or breaking into websites, apps, or application programming interfaces (APIs).
However, on the weekend of May 30 and 31, the weekend after the death of Floyd, Cloudflare blocked 135,535,554,303 HTTP requests, a month-on-month increase of 17%.
The firm recorded the largest increase with 26% more cyber attacks on Sunday May 31 than the same Sunday a month prior.
When analysing the categories of Internet properties that were attacked, Advocacy Groups was the category identified with the biggest increase in cyber attacks with an overwhelming increase of 1,120x.
“In fact, those groups went from having almost no attacks at all in April, to attacks peaking at 20 thousand requests per second on a single site,” explained Cloudflare’s CEO and co-founder Matthew Prince, and chief technology officer (CTO), John Graham-Cumming.
Cloudflare noted that one attacker used a hacked server in France and continuously targeted an advocacy group for over a day.
Prince and Graham-Cumming went on to provide detail regarding Project Galileo – a project set up to provide protection from cyber attacks for vulnerable targets, like humanitarian organisations and the voices of political dissent. Over the last week, Cloudflare has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of cyber attacks against organisations fighting racism.
“We have been listening carefully to those who have taken to the streets in protest to demand justice and an end to structural racism, and believe that their powerful stories can serve as catalysts for real change. But that requires them to be heard. Unfortunately, if recent history is any guide, those who speak out against oppression will continue to face cyberattacks that attempt to silence them.
“Cloudflare remains committed to making sure that they can continue to function in the face of these attacks, regardless of their resources or the size of the attack.”
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