Cyber attacks against anti-racism organizations erupted following the death of George Floyd, says one of the leading protection service providers.
Cloudflare, which blocks attacks designed to take websites offline, says defense groups in general have seen attacks increase 1,120 times.
Floyd’s death in police custody sparked civil unrest nationwide in the United States.
Government and military websites have also seen a significant increase in attacks.
DDoS attacks – short for Distributed Denial of Service – are a relatively simple cyber attack tool, in which the attacker tries to flood a website or other online service with so many fake “users” that he can’t make it.
The effect is that it is taken offline for people looking to access information or services.
Cloudflare says that after Floyd’s death and the ensuing violent clashes between police and protesters, he has seen a dramatic jump in the amount of requests blocked – an additional 19 billion (17%) from the corresponding weekend the previous month.
That equates to an additional 110,000 requests blocked every second, he said.
The problem was particularly acute for some types of organizations. A single website belonging to an unnamed advocacy group handled 20,000 requests per second.
The anti-racism groups that belong to the free Cloudflare program for organizations at risk have experienced a sharp increase in the last week, from almost zero to over 120 million blocked requests.
Attacks on government and military websites also increased by 1.8 and 3.8 times, respectively.
A sudden surge of interest ensues for the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous, who said he will support the protesters and threatened to hit the police in the city of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed. The group has often used DDoS attacks in the past.
Meanwhile, Cloudflare has invited risk groups to join its free protection program.
“As we have often seen in the past, protests and violence in the real world are usually accompanied by attacks on the Internet,” said Cloudflare in a blog post written by its CEO and technical director.
“Unfortunately, if recent history is a guide, those who oppose the oppression will continue to face cyber attacks that attempt to silence them.”