We started Project Galileo in 2014 with the simple idea that organizations that work in vulnerable yet essential areas of human rights and democracy building should not be taken down because of cyber attacks. In the past eight years, this idea has grown to more than just keeping them secure from a DDoS attack, but also how to foster collaboration with civil society to offer more tools and support to these groups. In March 2022, after the war in Ukraine started, we saw an increase in applications to Project Galileo by 177%.
Read ahead for details on all of our eighth anniversary announcements:
- Two new civil society partners helping choose participants
- New insights on attack patterns using data from Cloudflare Radar
- A portal designed to ease onboarding for Galileo participants
- Details on our sessions at RightsCon this week
- New case studies highlighting Galileo participants and the important work they are doing
Announcing two new Project Galileo partners
This year, we are excited to welcome two new partners, International Media Support and CyberPeace Institute. As we introduce new partners, we are able to expand the project to protect a range of groups on the Internet. With this, we currently protect 1,900+ organizations in 111 countries.
With almost three years working on Project Galileo at Cloudflare, I get a front row seat to how we use security tools to protect the most vulnerable on the Internet. From journalism groups in Brazil reporting on environmental issues to social justice organizations in the United States to activists in authoritarian countries, we see a range of voices that come to Cloudflare for protection.
The anniversary of the project is one of my favorite times of the year, as it gives us the opportunity to show the world a glimpse of what we see on a daily basis. With the anniversary, it also gives us time to reflect on lessons learned and how we can improve the project.
In a time of crisis, we engage with civil society on how to protect the most vulnerable
One of the most important lessons we have learned about Project Galileo is that in a time of crisis, whether it be the spread of COVID-19 and shift to remote work or geopolitical conflicts, we are able to quickly mobilize to offer our assistance. One way we do this is to leverage our partnerships with civil society to offer our security tools and technical expertise to those who need help to keep their online platforms secure and reliable.
This became clear at the end of February 2022 and the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After the war in Ukraine started, applications to the project increased by 177% in March 2022. Since then, we onboarded 43 organizations in Ukraine to Project Galileo. In the region, we protect 116 organizations with 62 organizations onboarded to the project during the crisis, this includes organizations in Ukraine. Many of these organizations are working in journalism and reporting on the ground in Kyiv, human rights activists that are assisting refugees fleeing the country, and groups who have built applications to alert users of incoming air raids.
We have seen how partnerships between civil society, governments, and private sector companies have given us the ability to provide a swift response in providing support to Ukraine.
We see this in the form of donations of security services to ensure that people on the ground have access to information. There has been a focus on the conflict in Ukraine primarily on how to protect organizations that work in human rights. But, many civil society groups that have been working to provide assistance may have been overlooked in the digital security context. Many times, civil society does not get as many resources to protect themselves, and we strive to provide our services to human rights defenders, but also those who support them.
We have learned in the past few months that collaboration in a time of crisis is essential to responsibly provide our protections under the project. Any Ukrainian organizations that are facing attack can apply for free protection under Project Galileo by visiting www.cloudflare.com/galileo, and we will expedite their review and approval.
What to expect for the 8th anniversary of Project Galileo
For the Project Galileo 8th anniversary, we wanted to identify the types of attacks these groups face to better equip researchers, civil society, and organizations that are targeted with best practices for safeguarding their websites and internal data.
We created a Radar dashboard to focus on attacks against organizations in areas such as human rights, journalism, and community building groups. We onboarded a range of organizations in Ukraine and neighboring countries during the ongoing Russian invasion.
Learn more about the attacks we see against vulnerable groups protected under Project Galileo with an additional blog post and Radar dashboard tomorrow.
Social Impact Portal
Project Galileo has grown to support more than 1,900 organizations. These organizations typically fall into two categories. The first are organizations that are familiar with the security landscape and the Cloudflare tools they need to keep their organization secure. The second, which is a majority of organizations we protect under the project, are not familiar with the threat landscape and do not have a dedicated IT staff.
We know too well that organizations that work to support democracy, accountability, and human rights face an increased rate of cyber attacks because of the sensitive nature of their work. Many times, organizations come to Cloudflare because they come under a cyber attack and need our help with mitigation and getting back online. Unfortunately, we see applications like this come in every day for Project Galileo.
With this, we wanted to create a new resource to help these organizations on their Cloudflare journey. We are proud to release a new centralized area that organizations protected under our many projects can turn to when they have questions about configurations, product requests, and training on how to keep their organization secure. With tailored videos on security products with a focus on Cloudflare Zero Trust products, we are excited to offer more resources to organizations with very little or no dedicated IT staff, to ensure they stay online and secure from cyber attacks.
Learn more about our Cloudflare Social Impact Project portal and how we built this specifically for organizations protected under our Cloudflare Impact projects this week.
Every year, Cloudflare sponsors Access Now’s RightsCon. RightsCon brings together a broad range of civil society groups and business and public sector stakeholders to talk and learn about digital rights issues. With topics including Internet shutdowns, digital security, privacy, and surveillance, it has it all for a great week of engaging with a range of players in the digital rights space.
This year, we are participating in a variety of events, but particularly excited about a community lab we are hosting with partner organizations like National Democratic Institute, Internews, CyberPeace Institute, and Okta. The session is focused on tools available for at-risk organizations and to learn more on how the private sector and civil society can improve security resources. We’ve learned in the last few years of Project Galileo that we are one part of the broader ecosystem. When it comes to providing tools to organizations, it is important to work together with the many players to find the best way to support organizations online and offline. We hope this session will generate further ideas on how we can work closely with others and learn more on how organizations view security resources.
If you plan to attend RightsCon, please check out our session on Wednesday, June 8, at 12:30 pm ET. More information can be found on the RightsCon website.
As we celebrate the anniversary, we want to highlight many of the organizations protected under the project and how they keep their organization secure from cyber attacks. We value organizations that want to tell their story of the amazing work they do in human rights and community building and how they stay online with Cloudflare. Our goal with telling their stories is to encourage others who may work in similar spaces to take advantage of security tools available to them. Case studies also help other organizations that may be new to the project.
Check out some of their stories on how they use Project Galileo to stay secure from cyber attacks.
If you are an organization looking for protection
As we kick off the 8th anniversary of Project Galileo, we want to thank all of our civil society partners that we work alongside to offer Cloudflare protection. If you are an organization looking for protection under Project Galileo, please visit our website: cloudflare.com/galileo.