Cyber attacks targeting Jewish and Holocaust educational websites surge by 872% in 2023

Tomorrow is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a mournful occasion to remember those who perished at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. The Holocaust, a catastrophic event in human history, resulted in the extermination of one-third of the Jewish population in Europe — totaling six million Jews during the Second World War. It also claimed the lives of countless others from minority and disability groups targeted under the Nazis’ brutal regime of intolerance.

At Cloudflare, through Project Galileo, we are committed to safeguarding Jewish and Holocaust educational websites. This initiative offers complimentary protection to vulnerable groups worldwide. You can apply for the project using this form.

Combating antisemitism with education and cyber defense

Today more than ever, it’s important to ensure educational websites about the Holocaust are protected and available. Education about the Holocaust helps communities understand the dangers of prejudice and dehumanization, and can play an important role in combating antisemitism. As only 13 countries worldwide have mandated Holocaust education, publicly available resources play an important role in ensuring access to information.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, over 1 billion people globally are reported to hold antisemitic attitudes. In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League has reported that antisemitic sentiments are held by about 10% of the population and has identified a decade-long rise in antisemitic incidents, increasing by 360% following the October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel. The European Commission has also described a dramatic surge in antisemitism in Europe, with incidents in London alone rising by 1,350% post-October 7. This alarming trend indicates a growing need for awareness and educational efforts. We are proud to do our part, and provide cyber defenses to ensure the availability of online educational resources.

Surge in cyber attacks against Jewish and Holocaust Educational websites

In 2023, these defenses mitigated over 35.7 million malicious HTTP requests that targeted Jewish and Holocaust educational websites. This represents a staggering 2,190% increase in malicious requests compared to 1.6 million requests in 2022. This figure includes all types of application-layer cyber attacks including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that aim to take down websites and all other common application attacks that were mitigated by our Web Application Firewall (WAF) suite. On average, Cloudflare mitigated 4,000 malicious requests every hour.

Mitigated requests against Jewish and Holocaust education websites

The 35.7 million HTTP requests that were mitigated by Cloudflare accounted for 2.6% of all inbound requests to Jewish and Holocaust educational websites in 2023. When we normalize the amount of mitigated requests by the total inbound requests to those websites, in order to remove any data biases, we still see a significant increase.

In 2023, the percentage of mitigated requests towards Jewish and Holocaust educational websites grew from 0.3% in 2022 to 2.6% in 2023. This represents an 872% year-over-year growth. For comparison, between 2020 and 2021, this share of mitigated requests towards these websites grew by 60% and between 2021 and 2022 it grew by 78%. So in 2023, the growth rate of mitigated requests grew 12 times more than in previous years.

Percentage of mitigated requests against Jewish and Holocaust education websites out of total requests

The rise in cyber attacks against Jewish and Holocaust educational websites coincides with an overall increase of 27% in DDoS attacks against Israeli websites. More can be found in our latest DDoS threat report and our unique coverage of the cyber attacks that immediately followed the October 7 attack.

Helping build a better Internet, and a better world

As we conclude this post on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it’s clear that the fight against antisemitism and cyber threats is more crucial than ever. At Cloudflare, we are steadfast in our commitment to helping build a safer, better Internet. We understand the importance of protecting educational websites and communities from cyber attacks, and we encourage everyone to take a stand with us. Even our free plan offers robust security and performance capabilities, ensuring that critical resources and websites are safeguarded and available. Together, we can make a meaningful difference and ensure that the lessons of history are preserved and protected.

Source:: CloudFlare