Hackers target credit card firms in revenge for AssangeDecember 9th, 2010 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 9 (IANS) A group of computer hackers has carried out revenge attacks against leading credit card companies viewed as enemies of WikiLeaks, forcing their websites to stop functioning, a media report said Thursday.
In what they called “Operation Payback”, the network of the online activists targeted firms including MasterCard and Visa, in the latest front of the battle over leaked US diplomatic cables, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The group, known as Anonymous and thought to be 1,500 to 2,000-strong, flooded the websites of the credit card companies, and that of the Swedish prosecution authority, with millions of bogus visits.
Their attack came after the financial giants, along with the online payment firm PayPal, announced they would no longer process donations to the whistleblower WikiLeaks website.
On Wednesday night Sarah Palin, the former US vice-presidential candidate who called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be pursued like Al Qaeda, said her website had also been attacked by Anonymous, the report said.
The hackers have also targeted Amazon, the internet retailer, which provoked their fury by withdrawing server space being used by WikiLeaks to host the government documents.
PayPal admitted it blocked payments to the group — which is embarrassing the US government by steadily releasing a cache of more than 250,000 cables - amid pressure from the US State Department.
Anonymous’s “distributed denial of service” attacks, which have become the standard weapon of cyber warfare, appeared to have temporarily crippled the companies websites Wednesday night.
They also brought down the sites of Swedish prosecutors, who are pursuing Assange over allegations of sex crimes, and of the lawyer of his alleged victims.
While the companies sought to play down the potential impact on consumers, at least one payment service using Mastercard said that its customers were experiencing “a complete loss of service”.
In a statement, the group of hackers said: “We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks, including multibillion-dollar companies.”
A spokesman for MasterCard said it was “working to restore normal service levels” following “a concentrated effort to flood our corporate website with traffic and slow access”.
A spokesman for Visa said its websites were “experiencing heavier than normal traffic”.
The hackers have threatened to turn their sites on to Twitter, the micro-blogging website, which it accuses of censoring discussion of WikiLeaks.
Twitter has denied this and says the group has misunderstood the way the site states which topics are “trending”, or being discussed most often by users.
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- US charges hackers in high-profile cyber attack - Mar 07, 2012
- Now, mini WikiLeaks on web, US cautions Switzerland over Assange asylum offer - Dec 06, 2010
- Now, Internet 'hacktivists' target Amazon for refusing trade with WikiLeaks - Dec 10, 2010
- Amazon hit by web failure - Dec 13, 2010
- Now, 'Brit Govt websites could be hacked in Wikileaks revenge attacks - Dec 14, 2010
- Dutch police arrest teenager over pro-WikiLeaks hacking incidents - Dec 10, 2010
- PayPal suspends donations to WikiLeaks - Dec 05, 2010
- Toppling giant firms online - protests go digital - Dec 13, 2010
- PayPal says it blocked WikiLeaks after U.S. government request - Dec 08, 2010
- Assange says his convictions have not been shaken by his incarceration - Dec 14, 2010
- Wikileaks hacktivists attack shopping web site Amazon - Dec 13, 2010
Tags: alleged victims, amazon, computer hackers, cyber warfare, daily telegraph, denial of service, denial of service attacks, financial giants, government documents, internet retailer, operation payback, presidential candidate, revenge attacks, sarah palin, server space, sex crimes, target, us state department, whistleblower, wikileaks