WikiLeaks might be in trouble on the Internet following a series of attacks from service providers like Amazon Web Services, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, all of which took WikiLeaks’ accounts off their servers, along with EveryDNS, which provided the DNS access to WikiLeaks (sort of like the door to your house. It might exist on the server, but no one can get in.) We had earlier reported on these stories, here [http://www.exchange4media.com/e4m/izone1/izone_fullstory.asp?section_id=4&news_id=40257&tag=6560] and here [http://www.exchange4media.com/e4m/izone1/izone_fullstory.asp?section_id=4&news_id=40241&tag=6556], but hackers, who believe that WikiLeaks was targeted unfairly, responded by joining in on attacks against these sites in turn. Ironically, Amazon was first hit by hackers for hosting the controversial website, so it seems like there may be no safe stance to take.
Anonymous hackers launched a blog called Operation Payback, which gave instructions to anyone interested on how to hurt websites that had denied access to WikiLeaks.
In a short time Operation Payback was able to affect a number of sites:
After pulling the plug on payments to WikiLeaks, Mastercard’s website was taken down and remains out of service. (It’s back on some browsers);
Senator Joe Lieberman’s website was taken down for 12 minutes (the first .gov site to be attacked);
Sarah Palin’s website was taken offline;
The group sent spam faxes to Joe Lieberman’s office and to PostFinance. PostFinance was attacked the hardest, leaving customers without the ability to conduct online banking;
They took down the website of the lawyer representing the two women who were allegedly raped/ assaulted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange;
The group took down Assange’s Swedish prosecutor’s website.
On their blog, Paypal has admitted that payments have slowed. Transactions have continued (and I personally used PayPal earlier today), but Mastercard has been hit harder. Hackers brought down Mastercard’s website, but it initially said it hadn’t affected customers. As the day continued, the effect began to spread and thousands of online transactions were stopped. The problem is that MasterCard uses an additional security tier, Securecode, where you enter a password along with all the information on the card. This was brought down, and while Mastercard is working to bring back the service fully, there have been some effects there.
At the same time, user data has not been affected. While processing times have uniformly gone up, and transactions are sometimes being cancelled, you can still use your card for offline transactions, or IVR based transactions. Online buying is the only area affected, and even that has not been stopped.