I’m sure you’re all familiar with the term WikiLeaks now. The non-profit media organization has been causing tidal waves in the news recently, with the publishing of several confidential documents, from anonymous and untraceable sources, which put several people and organizations in the spotlight – in a bad way.
Ever since then, things have gone south for the whistle-blowing website. It has had to operate on multiple servers and domain names thanks to several Denial-of-service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks – which made the website unaccessible to its users, and cancellation from DNS providers.
In addition, Julian Assenge – the website’s frontman, who once famously said “We specialize in allowing whistle-blowers and journalists who have been censored to get material out to the public,” had an arrest warrant issued against him by the Swedish Government via the Interpol and the EU for sexual offences. He was arrested on 7th December after a voluntary meeting with the Police in London.
In an unexpected turn of events though, a few hackers have stepped up and showed their support for WikiLeaks. Anonymous, the oddly named group that has been linked to message board 4chan, are the ones who are apparently responsible for what's been called – Operation Payback. It was created to organize hacking effects against companies believed to be harming WikiLeaks. Within hours, the Visa and Mastercard websites were down. Well… as was the Facebook page, but that didn’t deter them, as they just moved on to Twitter. Their account was banned in a few hours though, which begs the question – just how free is speech on the internet?
Either way, the Visa website is still down and the Mastercard website, while back up, is still trying to bring back full functionality. These two websites, along with Paypal’s, were attacked because they blocked donations to WikiLeaks. Amazon.com was also targeted for kicking WikiLeaks off their servers.