Wikipedia Hacked; Receives $3.6 Million Donation to Boost Cybersecurity

The donation comes just days after a widespread cyber attack saw the site crash across Europe and the Middle East.

Wikimedia - parent company of Wikipedia - has received a hefty donation of USD $2.5 million (AUD $3.6 million) to increase its cybersecurity policies across the organisation from the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark; the non-profit organisation relies on donations and volunteers to keep the service running.

The donation comes just days after a widespread “malicious attack” from “bad faith actors,” that saw the site crash across Europe and the Middle East. The distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack was condemned by Wikipedia in a statement, who added that attacks like the one that took the site offline constituted a threat to “everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information.”

While Wikimedia hasn’t specified how the donation will be spent, the topics of risk management, incident response and application security were all mentioned by its director for security.

“Wikipedia’s continued success as a top-10 website that has hundreds of millions of users makes it a target for vandalism, hacking, and other cybersecurity threats that harm the free knowledge movement and community,” John Bennett, director for security at Wikimedia said.

“That’s why we are working proactively to combat problems before they arise. This investment will allow us to further expand our security programs to identify current and future threats, create effective countermeasures and improve our overall security controls,” Bennett continued to explain.

The man responsible for the donation, Craig Newmark has said that “as disinformation and other security threats continue to jeopardize the integrity of our democracy, we must invest in systems that protect the services that work so hard to get accurate and trustworthy information in front of the public.”

“That’s why I eagerly continue to support the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects- like Wikipedia, the place where facts go to live,” he said.

According to reports, “under his Craig Newmark Philanthropies organisation, Newmark has donated millions to fund journalism and combat fake news, improve voter projection and help address the gender disparity in IT. As part of these efforts, he’s sent nearly $2m the way of the Wikimedia Foundation.”

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