Protests have emerged across the country after the death of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer and died on May 25.
At the same time, advocacy groups, especially those fighting racism, have been targeted by a growing number of digital attacks, reports Cloudflare, the web security and content distribution company.
“The shocking murder of George Floyd on May 25 was followed, over the weekend of May 30/31, by widespread protests and violence in the US,” according to a blog post published this week by the company. “At the same time, Cloudflare saw a large uptick in cyberattacks, particularly cyberattacks on advocacy organizations fighting racism.”
Malicious web requests in general were up 17% last weekend, compared to the last weekend in April, Cloudflare reports. But attacks on “advocacy groups” were up a staggering 1,120 times over the corresponding weekend last month. One attacker, which Cloudflare believes was using a compromised server in France, targeted an unnamed advocacy group for more than a day, with Cloudflare blocking the malicious traffic, according to the report.
There were also jumps in attacks on government sites, which include police and fire departments: Those are up 1.8 times over last month, while attacks on military sites are up 3.8 times, the company reports.
A denial of service attack recently took down websites run by Minneapolis police and other city agencies, and Minnesota state websites were also attacked, the Washington Post reported this week.