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Human Rights Groups Suffer Surge in Attacks, Post-George Floyd Protests

Trolls and worse come out to play...

By claudia glover

US advocacy groups are experiencing a surge in cyber attacks after the murder of George Floyd, with Cloudflare recording a 26 percent increase in cyber attacks on human rights groups.

Over May 30/31 Cloudflare blocked 135,535,554,303 HTTP requests “performing DDoS or trying to break into websites, apps or APIs”. (That’s ten times more blocked requests per second than Google’s typical entire search volume over the same period, Cloudflare suggested.

Of this onslaught, the highest hit group by far were advocacy groups, who experienced a 1100X increase; some going from no attacks at all to 20,000 requests per second on a single site.

Project Galileo was organised by Cloudflare to protect vulnerable targets ” like artistic groups, humanitarian organizations, and the voices of political dissent” from cyber attacks.

A statement from the web security company explained the attacks further: “One particular attacker, likely using a hacked server in France, was especially persistent and kept up an attack hitting an advocacy group continuously for over a day.”

VP of Product Management at Clearswift Alyn Hockey explained that while this is an emotive time, there are those who seek to profit from any disaster.

Read This! Here’s How Big Tech’s CEOs Have Reacted to America’s Raging Protests

“Cyber criminals are always quick to latch onto anything in the news to infiltrate networks and systems, so I’d be surprised if advocacy groups hadn’t been targeted with malware attacks that use George Floyd’s murder in some way. Something as emotive as this can be an effective way to inflict malicious code on an organisation.

“People are especially keen to seek out the latest information and make donations, and perhaps aren’t as vigilant as they might usually be when going through their emails. Malware is constantly changing and evolving and while technology exists to detect and completely sanitise evasive threats, in the short-term advocacy groups just need to be hyper vigilant.

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“Emails containing malicious code often look legitimate and it just takes one ill-advised click to welcome malware into an organisation.”

George Floyd Cyber Attacks

Meanwhile there have also been what appear to be targeted attacks on US government and military websites. American Government sites have experienced an 1.8-fold increase in attacks to their police and fire departments and the military have received a swell of 3.8 times month on month, hinting that the protests in the United States may be going virtual.

The hacktivism group Anonymous has started to claim some of these attacks, having resurfaced amidst the protests.

On May 28 the loosely knit activist group released a video on Facebook that seems to warn the Minneapolis police department: “You may have fired these officers to save face but it is obvious that this type of behaviour is condoned if not encouraged within your police department. Officers who kill people and commit other crimes need to be held accountable.

“We do not trust your corrupt organisation to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world”.

Two days later the Minneapolis Police Department was taken offline, and still appears to be so.

On May 31 the Chicago Police radio was hijacked and songs concerning the police were payed over the waves instead.

Two days ago cyber attacks targeted the Minnesota Senate Website, as it was pushed offline by a DDOS attack on all state computers, as reported by the Star Tribune of Minnesota.

Don’t Leave Before You’ve Read This! Malicious Mobile Applications Surge: 29,000 Spotted in Q1




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