Black KC Bookstore Hit With Major Cyber-Terrorism Attack

One of KC’s only Black-owned bookstores was the target of a large-scale cyber-attack which obliterated the entirety of the store’s digital infrastructure.

One of Kansas City’s only remaining Black-owned brick-and-mortar bookstores announced last week that it was the target of a large-scale cyber-attack which obliterated the entirety of the store’s digital infrastructure. 

“Website, bank accounts, emails, newsletters, everything all compromised” wrote Cori Smith, owner of BLK & BRWN, in an Instagram post following the digital assault. “I am deeply FRUSTRATED and feeling violated. The site took me MONTHS to build and the over 600 books I had added over the last 8 months feel like it was all for nothing.”

BLK & BRWN is one of Kansas City’s most celebrated Black owned businesses and Smith has built a loyal following due to her Pro-Black advocacy and active community involvement. In its less than year in existence, the store has become a community center for all types of activities from yoga and book clubs, to other activities centering the Black experience. 

Not in spite of, but rather as a result of Smith’s usage of the shop for Black empowerment, the shop has become a prime target for malicious actors and white supremacist cyber-terrorism. Less than two months ago while participating in an event at Rockhurst University, a virtual panel which Smith featured on was hacked and the cyber-terrorists hurled numerous violent slurs at the group including calling Smith a “Nigger Bitch.” 

Black Students at Rockhurst University hold a community healing event after the violent act of racial terrorism employed via hacking their virtual event.

Here is what Smith wrote following the February event:

Last night during a virtual conversation that was aimed to highlight black businesses, community, and leadership– our call was hijacked. While the HARD -er was thrown at us so casually, we were also verbally attacked with other wonderfully colorful racial epithets, and wildly inappropriate images/videos. We were told our Black lives didn’t matter. The audacity for us to have a space for ourselves.

I was reminded that this is what it looks/feels like when you actively seek to dismantle ignorance. That this is the result of making impact sometimes. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was sick and tired of waiting on good humaning to just happen. Last night reminded me why I do the work that I do. Admittedly, it has turned my rage into confirmation and motivation.

I will not be silenced. I do this work because Black people deserve joy, peace, and safety. It’s ALWAYS more than just some Black books. It’s knowledge. It’s access to resources. It’s community.

And, hate is absolutely TAUGHT and INHERITED.

Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent uprisings across the U.S., cyber-terrorism attacks on advocacy groups spiked by a massive 1,120 times.

The new, digitized white supremacist assaults aim to disrupt and instill fear in anti-racist organizations as well as the Black community more broadly; effectively aligning these with the precise aims of terrorist actors. 

The data was published by Cloudflare, one of the most prominent web infrastructure and website security companies which protects many of the largest websites on the internet from distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other such cyberattacks.

A special report written by the United States Institute of Peace notes that although cyberterrorism is not always accompanied by direct physical violence, its psychological effects on societies and groups can be as damaging as the effect of terrorist bombs.

Tech Target similarly defines the motivations an Cyber-terrorists as “to disrupt or harm victims, even if the attacks do not result in physical harm or cause extreme financial harm.” 

The entity goes on to state that:

Cyber-terrorism actors use various methods. These include the following types of attacks: Hacking, or gaining unauthorized access, seeks to steal critical data from institutions, governments and businesses, and Ransomware, a type of malware, holds data or information systems hostage until the victim pays the ransom. Some ransomware attacks also exfiltrate data.

HOW TO SUPPORT ✊🏿

1. Follow @blkbrwnkc on Instagram

2. Shop in-store at the physical location (104 1/2 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO 64111)

3. Make a purchase over the phone (816-469-5922)

4. Donate using this link

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