Home Christian News GiveSendGo Back Online After Hack Targeting Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protests

GiveSendGo Back Online After Hack Targeting Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protests

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Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

(RNS) — Controversial Christian crowdfunding website GiveSendGo is back online after being hacked over the weekend, with digital attackers leaking the names and emails of people who donated to the ongoing protest against pandemic restrictions in Canada spearheaded by truck drivers.

GiveSendGo addressed the hack in a tweet Tuesday morning (Feb. 15), saying the website was “attacked by malicious actors attempting to eliminate the ability of its users to raise funds.”

“GiveSendGo has a dedicated team aggressively focused on identifying these malicious actors and pursuing actions against their cybercrime,” read the statement.

The hackers targeted contributors to the so-called Freedom Convoy protest that has halted traffic at some U.S. border crossings, ground parts of Ottawa to a halt and spurred Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to activate emergency powers in an effort to shut down the demonstration. The catalyst for the protest, which arrived in the country’s capital in late January, was Trudeau’s requirement that truckers quarantine if they are unvaccinated and cross the U.S.-Canada border.

Although Canada is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world — including most of its truckers, according to Trudeau — the protest has grown into a broader symbolic pushback against all pandemic restrictions, including masks, lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

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The demonstrators initially used the more mainstream fundraising website GoFundMe for their efforts, quickly accruing millions of dollars. But GoFundMe took down the donation page in early February, saying it violated the site’s terms of service.

The move outraged many conservatives in the U.S. but spurred demonstrators to utilize GiveSendGo, which has actively promoted the protest fundraiser. The shift to the Christian website, in turn, quickly encountered resistance: Last week, a Canadian judge issued an order halting access to funds housed in the website, and the Canadian government has warned it will freeze the bank accounts of truckers who continue to form blockades.

GiveSendGo noted in its statement that no money was stolen in the hack and credit card information was not exposed.

“We are in a battle,” the statement read. “We didn’t expect it to be easy. This has not caused us to be afraid. Instead, it’s made it even more evident that we can not back down. Thank you for your continued support, prayers and the countless emails letting us know you are standing with us.”

The hack, which made the website largely unusable until Tuesday morning, was conducted with a dramatic flair. According to a video captured by a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reporter, the website was temporarily replaced with a video from the Disney movie “Frozen II” on Sunday night, as well as the words “GiveSendGo is NOW FROZEN!” As the clip played, a column of yellow text scrolled across it addressed to “GiveSendGo Grifters and Hatriots.”

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Jack Jenkins is a national reporter for Religion News Services. His work has appeared or been referenced in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, MSNBC and elsewhere. After graduating from Presbyterian College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and religion/philosophy, Jack received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University with a focus on Christianity, Islam and the media. Jenkins is based in Washington, D.C.