Cyber attacks mount in Wiki war
LONDON: Cyber activists striking at companies seen as enemies of WikiLeaks sought to block the website of online payment firm Moneybookers yesterday, but denied their campaign was intended to damage economic activity.
There were also inter net calls for attacks on official Dutch websites following the arrest in The Hague on Thursday of a 16-year-old boy suspected of involvement in the online campaign.
The attack on Moneybookers appeared to have blocked the site for about two minutes at about 12.35pm but it came back online. Hackers vowed to continue their assault.
“If we don’t panic, and we get bigger, no one can stop us,” wrote a participant in a chat room used by what the activists call Operation Payback.
A string of US institutions has ended services to WikiLeaks after the website published thousands of secret US diplomatic reports that have caused strains between Washington and several allies.
Online retail and web-host- ing powerhouse Amazon last week stopped hosting the WikiLeaks website, and on Thursday briefly became the main target of pro-WikiLeaks campaigners – before they admitted it was too big for them, for now.
Activists said Moneybooks had became a target because it had infor med WikiLeaks in August it had closed its account with the service to comply with investigations by several governments into possible money laundering and other matters.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Moneybookers.
In a statement, the activists, who collectively call themselves “Anonymous”, said they were not hackers, but rather “average internet citizens”.
“We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We also do not seek to attack critical infrastructure of companies such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon,” the statement said.
“Rather, we focused on their corporate websites… their online “public face”.
“It is a symbolic action... Our goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhand methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks’ ability to function.”
The statement appeared to have been published several hours after one by WikiLeaks which said the website had no links to the cyber attacks and neither supported nor condemned them.
The statement quoted WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson as saying the attacks were “a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets”.
The teenage boy in the Netherlands was arrested by a high-tech crime unit after admitting to attacks on the websites of two credit card companies, MasterCard and Visa.
The boy, whose details were not disclosed, was due to appear in court in Rotterdam yesterday afternoon.
He was believed to be part of a larger group of hackers under investigation, that participated in so-called denial of service attacks, the prosecution said. Data and computer equipment were confiscated during his arrest. On one internet communication service used by the online campaign, several participants debated whether to end the attacks and instead focus on discovering more embarrassing material in the leaked documents.
“We have at best given them a black eye. The game has changed… so must our strategies,” read a suggestion proposing “Operation Leakspin.”
The idea would be to get hold of unreported stories buried in the thousands of cables and post snippets all over the internet, the campaign participant said. – Reuters
PLUGGED: A supporter of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange protests outside the US Consulate in Hong Kong yesterday.
WIKID: A man holds up a sign as protesters support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, in Sydney, yesterday.