Hackers Target Muslim Crowdfunding Platform LaunchGood
The attack on their servers comes in the wake of LaunchGood hosting a fleet of credible charities in good standing that provide humanitarian and medical aid in Gaza.
Late last week, the crowdfunding platform LaunchGood experienced a service disruption caused by a targeted cyber attack. LaunchGood brands itself as “the world’s largest crowdfunding platform for Muslims with zero platform fees.” The attack on their servers comes in the wake of LaunchGood hosting a fleet of credible charities in good standing that provide humanitarian and medical aid in Gaza. Before the server attack, LaunchGood had facilitated the fundraising of over $10 million for Gaza.
The type of attack LaunchGood experienced was a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS for short. A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt a website or online service by overwhelming it with a flood of traffic from many sources. This traffic flood is like a digital traffic jam, making the targeted website or service slow or unavailable to legitimate users. Attackers use compromised computers, called bots, to generate this traffic, often without the owners' knowledge. There are various types of DDoS attacks, including ones that flood the network, exploit vulnerabilities in network protocols, or target the application layer of a website. DDoS attacks are illegal, and authorities work to identify and prosecute those responsible.
On Oct. 28, LaunchGood began experiencing millions of server requests in a short amount of time. Thankfully, it took just half an hour for LaunchGood’s engineers to circumvent the issue and keep the site up and running.
LaunchGood CEO Chris AR Blauvelt released a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, about the attack. “Hackers, most likely in Israel, launched a [DDoS] attack on LaunchGood that sent over 1 billion requests to our website from bots to try and crash our servers,” said Blauvelt, adding that LaunchGood normally experiences closer to a few thousand visitors at once. “We have tools … to prevent these attacks but [the hackers] were able to find some weak points that we addressed within [five] minutes and got the site back to 95% uptime.” Blauvelt explained that the downtime resulted in about $300k in lost donations; most of the money was humanitarian aid for Gaza, while about $50k went to LaunchGood for extra servers, developer time, lost tips and more.
Blauvelt says that LaunchGood isn’t the only Muslim or charity website targeted by hackers in the last week. “We expect this only to increase,” he said in his statement. “But we are ready to fight.”
LaunchGood’s dedicated global team is working around the clock to support charities and donors for Gaza, facilitating the fundraising of over $10 million in humanitarian assistance for aid related campaigns. You can learn more here.