Attacks On Anti-Racism Sites Surge

Cyber attacks on anti-racism organisations have surged folowing the death  in US police custody of George Floyd, a leading provider of protection services says. Cloudflare, which blocks attacks designed to knock websites offline, says rights advocacy groups in general saw attacks increase 1,120-fold.

In the days after George Floyd’s death, the websites of several anti-racism  groups have seen huge distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) with at least 140 billion requests on one day alone. DDoS attacks are when there is a concerted attempt to flood a website or server with bots so it is overloaded so that users cannot access it and has to be taken offline.

George Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide civil unrest in the US and government and military websites also saw a notable increase in attacks. Cloudflare says that after Floyd's death and the ensuing violent clashes between US police and protesters saw a noticeable jump in the amounts of requests it blocked.  

Cloudflare blocked over 135.5 billion malicious HTTP requests, an increase of 17% from the last weekend of April, making it an additional 110,000 blocked requests per second.

Sunday, 31st May had the largest increase in attacks, with an increase of over a quarter (26%) compared to the same day in April. This was an extra 19 billion increase, over17%, from the corresponding weekend the previous month, which equates to an extra 110,000 blocked requests every second. 

The problem was particularly acute for certain types of organisations. One single website belonging to an unnamed advocacy group dealt with 20,000 requests a second.

Anti-racism groups which belong to Cloudflare's free Galileo programme for at-risk organisations saw a large surge in the past week, from near-zero to more than 120 million blocked requests. Attacks on government and military websites were also up by 1.8 and 3.8 times respectively.

This happened after the radical hacker organitaion Anonymous sent messages about hacking which has said it will support the protesters, threatening to target the police in the city of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed. The group has often used DDoS attacks in the past.

Cloudflare, meanwhile, invited at-risk groups to join its free protection programme. "As we've often seen in the past, real world protest and violence is usually accompanied by attacks on the internet," Cloudflare said in blog post.
 

Verdict:      IT Pro:     Security Boulevard:    Information Security Buzz:      BBC:

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