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Wikileaks news round-up: Hackers, backers and more arrests

WikiLeaks news! WikiLeaks news! It's been another eventful day of twists and turns in the unfolding epic tale of the whistleblower website.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

WikiLeaks news! WikiLeaks news! It's been another day of twists and turns in the unfolding epic tale of the whistleblower website, today featuring online protestors tilting at financial giants, Amazon hypocrisy, and arrests.

A right royal data rumble has kicked off in cyberspace, with hack attacks launched against both sides of the debate. Patriotic hackers are attacking WikiLeaks itself, which is under serious threat as the companies that support it have dropped the site like a hot potato. Financial institutions have cut off WikiLeaks' access to funding, while the site's DNS service was also cut off.

Online protestors have launched 'Operation Payback' in defence of WikiLeaks. The site's supporters are targeting those institutions that have abandoned the service, including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Amazon. Anonymous, the online protest hivemind, is using software called Low Orbit Ion Cannon to co-ordinate distributed denial of service attack on the companies' websites.

LOIC allows non-hackers to push a button and their computer joins the DDoS offensive, centrally controlled by Anon Admins using the software's Hivemind feature. If you're thinking of getting involved, remember that participating in DDoS attacks is illegal here in the UK.

Amazon booted WikiLeaks from its servers, but is now profiting from a range of WikiLeaks-themed titles for its Kindle ebook reader. Operation Payback went after Amazon this afternoon but switched to PayPal when it failed to bring the bookselling site down.

Anonymous had Twitter in its sights after rumours spread that the site was censoring WikiLeaks from its trending topics, which automatically lists the subjects that lots of people are discussing. Twitter quickly denied this, saying WikiLeaks hadn't trended because the "velocity of conversation isn't increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day". Ah, so that's all clear then.

A Swiss bank has also been attacked after freezing the account of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In yet another twist, Assange is currently in police custody here in London, fighting extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. Swedish legal authorities report their sites have been attacked too.

As you read this, Dutch news is reporting that a 16-year old boy has been arrested in the Netherlands over the DDoS attacks.

Do you think online and financial services should stand by WikiLeaks? Can WikiLeaks survive, or are its days numbered?