Welcome!

Release Management Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Release Management , @CloudExpo

Cloud Security: Article

Wiki War Breaks Out

Vigilantes acting in support of Assange's rogue site started unleashing a torrent of punishing denial of service attacks

Even before WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange got hauled off to Wandsworth Prison in southwest London Tuesday, vigilantes acting in support of his rogue site started unleashing a torrent of punishing denial of service attacks on the financial institutions that turned the spigot off on the donations WikiLeaks needs to survive and pay Assange's legal bills.

That includes PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and the Swiss Post bank.

Amazon.com, which booted WikiLeaks off its cloud last week, was threatened again Thursday but reportedly the new avenging angel lacked the "forces" given Amazon's EC2-style elasticity. The ruffians pushed on to PayPal. Twitter is also a possible target for not allowing WikiLeaks discussions to "trend" to the top of the heap.

The attacks, which WikiLeaks refused neither to "condemn nor applaud" and which the US government is now investigating, brought down the web sites of Visa, MasterCard and the Swiss Post bank PostFinance.

Authorities apparently don't believe WikiLeaks and its leader aren't responsible for the attack and moved Assange to a segregated part of the prison where there is limited computer access, according to the Guardian Thursday.

PostFinance, which has so far suffered the most, was first hit on Monday and was down most of Tuesday preventing depositors from doing online banking; mastercard.com was still impossible to reach Wednesday but its core business was reportedly unaffected. Ditto Visa whose web site crashed Wednesday.

The attacks, however, have continued with reports of interference with MasterCard payment operations and from our own in-house experience with Visa Thursday that appeared to be true.

PayPal, which pulled WikiLeaks' account last Friday, has reportedly been hit too but seemed to bear up aside from some difficulties with its blog and Thursday with its web site.

The web site of the Swedish prosecutor's office, which is pressing the sex crimes case against Assange, was down Tuesday into Wednesday and then the web site and e-mail system of the law firm for the two Swedish women who brought the complaint were attacked.

So too Sarah Palin's web site and US Senator Joe Lieberman's, both outspoken WikiLeaks critics. At press time, the US Senate web site was a target.

Oddly enough the web site of the hysterically liberal Democratic senator from California Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and suddenly finds herself in Lieberman's company, is so far untouched. Guess the mob doesn't have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal where she wrote an op-ed saying Assange should be hauled into court for violating the Espionage Act of 1917.

Dubbed Operation Payback, the revenge attacks are the work of an army of maybe 1,500-but-swelling self-styled "hacktivists" associated with the so-called Anonymous hacker coalition that has previously attacked the Church of Scientology and RIAA for its anti-piracy moves.

When Operation Payback first started, these modern-day Vikings said, "While we don't have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and counter censorship."

After the marauders downed the Visa and MasterCard web sites Wednesday, Facebook killed an Operation Payback page where it appeared the vandals have been congregating, congratulating each other and getting their marching orders.

Facebook said the page was removed "for violating our Terms of Use," which outlaw hate speech, threats of violence and bullying.

It appears it was an idle gesture since they just regrouped elsewhere on Facebook.

Twitter, where the timing of some of the attacks has been posted, tried to do the same thing after a file appeared that seemed to contain credit card information. MasterCard said it was bogus.

In retaliation Anonymous has been hit and WikiLeaks itself has been under sporadic DDoS attacks since it started releasing stolen US embassy cables.

After WikiLeaks got kicked off Amazon's cloud last week and lost its wikileaks.org domain to DDoS attacks on EveryDNS.net, WikiLeaks borrowed a Swiss web address belonging to the Swiss Pirate Party and reportedly now has DNS servers in 14 countries and a thousand mirror sites.

It also took out an "insurance" policy.

Before turning himself in, Assange claimed he sent a practically biblical army of 100,000 fellow travelers a stockpile of secret national and commercial information that he threatened would be decrypted and released if something happened to him. His lawyers called it a "thermonuclear device."

On Tuesday WikiLeaks said it wouldn't send out the decryption code just yet. A spokesman told the AP it will only be used if "grave matters" take place involving WikiLeaks staff. What that means is unclear.

Indicative of what the file might contain WikiLeaks, in a shot across the establishment's bow Monday, released a list of critical foreign infrastructure assets such as pipelines, mines, trans-Atlantic cables, food sources and pharmaceutical supplies that are important to the security of the United States not to mention its allies. The list is a terrorist's dream.

The AP said British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the disclosure, telling the BBC it was a "reprehensible" act committed "without regard to wider concerns of security, the security of millions of people."

The wire service said it decided against publishing the list "due to the sensitive nature of the information." The BBC linked to the list on WikiLeaks and the AP wants to know why. It said the BBC didn't respond.

The list was part of the huge cache of 252,000 stolen diplomatic cables and State Department documents that WikiLeaks started releasing last week to the detriment of international relations. Nothing so far comes close to the dictionary definition of whistle-blowing, just voyeurism and general mayhem.

The Telegraph speculates that the financial giants are acting in lockstep because Assange made the "fatal mistake" of threatening to bring down a major US bank with New Year's revelations supposedly akin to Enron. Fingers pointed at Bank of America.

The paper figures such a thing cuts a little too close to home for all of them especially in the middle of a recession.

WikiLeaks still has a post office box in Australia and bank accounts in Germany and Iceland to accept donations.

Wading into the fray Tuesday, possibly to heighten its non-existent profile, a Philadelphia start-up financial processing service called Xipwire (say Zipwire) has offered to handle WikiLeaks donations via debit and credit cards over cell phones.

It said on its site, "While people may or may not agree with WikiLeaks, we at Xipwire believe that anyone who wishes to support the organization through a donation should be able to do so." It said it is "waiving all fees so that 100 percent of the donations collected will be directly passed on to WikiLeaks." The AP says it holding the money in an escrow account since it hasn't been able to make contact with WikiLeaks.

Of course, if WikiLeaks is declared a terrorist organization, as the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee wants, US banks would be prohibited from processing payments and it would be a felony to provide the group with "material support or resources."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...