- The Washington Times
Monday, February 14, 2022

Cyberattackers are bombarding the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo and threatening to expose the identities of donors to the trucker protesters in Canada, spreading fear of reprisals against donors and intimidating others from contributing to the anti-mandate cause. 

The platform’s website was inaccessible on Monday with a message saying it was “under maintenance” and would be back soon. The cyberbullying started soon after fundraisers for the “Freedom Convoy 2022” in Canada skyrocketed earlier this month and attracted millions of dollars in donations to the protests against COVID-19 mandates, said GiveSendGo co-founder Jacob Wells.

Mr. Wells told The Washington Times that people initially tried to overwhelm the company’s servers with traffic and make the fundraisers inaccessible. Despite GiveSendGo employees struggling to access their website, the fundraisers continued to rake in millions of dollars and the “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign amassed more than $8.8 million as of Friday.

“It was an absolute miracle because we don’t know how it was happening when we couldn’t even get on it ourselves,” Mr. Wells said in an interview Friday. 

The attacks did not stop, however, and people using the #GiveSendGone this weekend on social media posted messages saying hackers exfiltrated data on donors, including many who wished to remain anonymous. Twitter users published links to spreadsheet documents and images of maps purporting to show the identity of donors and their locations. 

Some social media messages sought to alert employers to their employees’ donations. Twitter user @rammyramramram published the names of purported donors who were professors at schools such as Pennsylvania State University and the University of Calgary and said the teachers were funding “illegal activity” and “unlawful action” by giving money through GiveSendGo

Twitter user @le_marc31 posted a public message to NASA questioning the space agency about why its employees were using “work emails” when making donations to the protesters. 

Distributed Denial of Secrets, an activist-minded hacking group, exfiltrated data from GiveSendGo, according to the tech publication Daily Dot.

Mr. Wells said that his team was investigating what hackers may have done and they brought in RightForge, an internet infrastructure company, for assistance. 

Some claims about data taken from GiveSendGo are disputed by the crowdfunding platform. The threat of exposing donors may be designed to scare away people wishing to donate to the protesters.

Claims that hackers had gathered information involving passports and driver licenses from donors are false, according to GiveSendGo. Mr. Wells said his team does not collect such identification from its donors.  

The Massachusetts-based GiveSendGo also is under pressure from the Canadian government. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday he was declaring a state of emergency and he said the government already began going after money funding the “illegal occupation” including by getting a court to grant its request to freeze GiveSendGo funds. 

Mr. Wells said his team was meeting with lawyers to determine how to prevent Canada from stopping the contributions from reaching their destination.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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