Do­main provider drops Wik­iLeaks

Web­site forced to switch to Swiss do­main af­ter hacker attacks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

STOCK­HOLM: Wik­iLeaks was forced yes­ter­day to switch over to a Swiss do­main name, wik­ileaks.ch, af­ter a new round of hacker attacks on its sys­tem prompted its US do­main name provider to with­draw ser­vice.

Wik­iLeaks’s US do­main name sys­tem provider, EveryDNS, with­drew ser­vice to the wik­ileaks.org name late on Thurs­day, say­ing it took the ac­tion be­cause the new hacker attacks threat­ened the rest of its net­work.

“Wik­ileaks.org has be­come the tar­get of mul­ti­ple dis­trib­uted de­nial of ser­vice attacks. These attacks have, and fu­ture attacks would, threaten the sta­bil­ity of the EveryDNS.net in­fra­struc­ture,” the com­pany said .

EveryDNS.net pro­vides ac­cess to about 500 000 web­sites.

Wik­iLeaks’ new do­main, wik­ileaks.ch, is owned by the Swiss Pirate Party, a po­lit­i­cal group formed two years ago to cam­paign for free­dom of in­for­ma­tion and sen­si­ble technology pol­icy.

Vice-pres­i­dent Pas­cal Gloor said: “We wanted to show our sup­port for Wik­iLeaks,” adding the party is only of­fer­ing the do­main name right now and that it hasn’t pro­vided the site with servers or in­fra­struc­ture.

Wik­iLeaks has pre­vi­ously claimed that in­tel­li­gence agen­cies from the US and else­where have been tar­get­ing its site, which has spilled thou­sands of em­bar­rass­ing US diplo­matic ca­bles as well as clas­si­fied US mil­i­tary doc­u­ments.

Ear­lier this week, Wik­iLeaks’s Swedish server host, Bahn­hof, con­firmed the web­site had been hit by a cy­ber at­tack just be­fore it leaked thou­sands of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments.

On Wed­nes­day, Ama­zon.com – which had pro­vided Wik­iLeaks with use of its servers to dis­trib­ute em­bar­rass­ing State Depart­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions and other doc­u­ments – evicted it. The site re­mains on the servers of its Swedish provider.

The ex­pul­sion from Ama­zon came af­ter con­gres­sional staff ques­tioned the com­pany about its re­la­tion­ship with Wik­iLeaks. Sen­a­tor Joe Lieber­man praised Ama­zon’s ac­tion and said it should “set the stan­dard” for com­pa­nies Wik­iLeaks is us­ing to dis­trib­ute “il­le­gally seized ma­te­rial”.

In its de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the ser­vice for Wik­iLeaks, EveryDNS cited what it called a vi­o­la­tion of the pro­vi­sion stat­ing that a mem­ber should “not in­ter­fere with an­other mem­ber’s use and en­joy­ment of the ser­vice”.

An­dre Rickards­son, an ex­pert on in­for­ma­tion technology se­cu­rity at Swe­den’s Bit­sec Con­sult­ing, said do­main name providers nor­mally don’t drop their clients un­less the clients them­selves have breached their user con­tract. “Wik­iLeaks is not be­hind the dis­tur­bance here, but in­di­vid­u­als try­ing to dis­turb Wik­iLeaks’s op­er­a­tions,” he said.

He had never ex­pe­ri­enced a user be­ing shut off un­der sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

“I don’t be­lieve for a sec­ond this has been done by EveryDNS them­selves. I think they’ve been un­der pres­sure,” he said re­fer­ring to US au­thor­i­ties.

Mark Stephens, the Lon­don­based lawyer for Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange, also spec­u­lated that out­side pres­sure had forced EveryDNS to pull the plug on Wik­iLeaks.

As­sange, a 39-year-old Aus­tralian, has been out of pub­lic sight for nearly a month. Swe­den has is­sued an Europe-wide ar­rest war­rant for him over al­le­ga­tions of rape, sex­ual mo­lesta­tion and un­law­ful co­er­cion, but the ex­act na­ture of the al­le­ga­tions are still un­clear.

Yes­ter­day, Stephens said “those that need to know where Ju­lian is – his co-work­ers, his lawyers and law en­force­ment… know how to get in touch with him,” but did not give de­tails on his where­abouts.

US govern­ment lawyers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether As­sange can be pros­e­cuted for spying. – Sapa-AP

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

FOUNDER: Ju­lian As­sange at a news con­fer­ence at the Front­line Club in cen­tral London.

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