Domain provider drops WikiLeaks
Website forced to switch to Swiss domain after hacker attacks
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
FOUNDER: Julian Assange at a news conference at the Frontline Club in central London.