Cyber Threats to the Black Community

Posted: 2nd March 2021
Cyber Threats to the Black Community


Editor’s Note: The following post is an excerpt of a full report. To read the entire analysis, click here to download the report as a PDF.

To honor Black History Month, Insikt Group partnered with BEST@RF (Black Empowerment and Support Team) — an employee resource group at Recorded Future that advocates for Black and ethnic minority employees — to conduct research into cyber threats facing the Black community within the United States. The goal of this research is to raise awareness and visibility, as well as provide practical recommendations to aid the Black community in battling the threats they face as a result of systemic racism.

Executive Summary

The Black community is often more heavily impacted by health or financial crises than other groups as a result of large racial wealth gaps stemming from centuries of systemic racism. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a glaring example of this, as Black Americans, when factoring in age, are more than twice as likely to have died from COVID-19 than White Americans. Applying this context to the cyber threat landscape, Insikt Group investigated a wide array of cyber threats over the last 6 years, including fraud, malware campaigns, and disinformation operations, for evidence of disproportionate or intentional targeting of the Black community by cybercriminals, state-sponsored groups, or nation-affiliated threat actors.

Key Judgements

  • Members of the Black community are highly impacted by fraud campaigns compared to other racial and ethnic groups, as disparities in financial literacy and wealth are large barriers to recovering from any resulting financial loss.
  • The use of phishing lures based on trending current events extends to social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter. Threat actors will continue to use the movement to victimize users as long as it is lucrative.
  • The infrastructure of organizations advocating for racial justice and equality are frequently targets for distributed denial of service attacks. The volume of attempted cyberattacks against these organizations is highly correlated with trends in racial justice movements, as evidenced by a surge in cyberattacks following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and subsequent protests.
  • Foreign information operations have targeted the Black community since at least 2015 and will likely continue to do so in order to create division and political unrest and undermine political leadership.

Editor’s Note: This post was an excerpt of a full report. To read the entire analysis, click here to download the report as a PDF.