Home > Cybersecurity News > More Notables Fall Victim to WikiLeaks Supporters’ Cyber Attacks

More Notables Fall Victim to WikiLeaks Supporters’ Cyber Attacks

Thursday, December 9, 2010 | 4:54 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

As WikiLeaks continues to take heat for exposing its latest batch of US government cables on the web, notable corporations and individuals that have taken action to condemn the website and its latest info-spew are also feeling the heat.

Rocked by a string of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyber attacks derived from WikiLeaks supporters, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Amazon, and even Sarah Palin were latest to have their websites fall victim to the work of WikiLeaks hacker-backers.

According to Reuters, MasterCard and Visa were hit with the DDoS attacks “in apparent retaliation for blocking of donations to the WikiLeaks website.”

Though some credit customers were unable to make payments during the sites’ downtime, Reuters reported that both MasterCard and Visa online services have since been restored.

Denying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s involvement in the cyber attacks, Mark Stephens, Assange’s leading lawyer, told Reuters that his client “did not give instructions to hack the company websites.”

But the hack attacks did not stop at corporate websites.  According to ABC News, former Governor Sarah Palin was also hit with a DDoS attack, endangering her website, SarahPAC.com, and breaching a personal credit card account for the Palin family.

Previously taking to her Facebook page to criticize Assange and the WikiLeaks website, a SarahPAC aide told ABC News that Sarah was targeted by “hackers in London that the Palin team believe to be affiliated with ‘Operation Payback’ – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times this morning said that some of the cyber attacks “in Mr. Assange’s defense appear to have been coordinated by ‘Anonymous,’ a loosely affiliated group of activist computer hackers who have singled out other groups before, including the Church of Scientology. Last weekend, members of Anonymous vowed in two online manifestos to take revenge on any organization that lined up against WikiLeaks.”

And the cyber attacks aren’t dodging the radar in Washington, either.  According to Bloomberg, in a news conference this afternoon, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Department of Justice is looking into the latest hacking incidents.

Also discussing the WikiLeaks web attacks at the news conference, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said the US government will work with the private sector to improve cybersecurity.

In the meantime, who will be next on the hackers’ hit list?

According to CNET, Facebook and Twitter may be on-deck, as both of the social media giants chose to remove the accounts set up by Operation Payback, the WikiLeaks-supporting group suspected of hacking Palin’s site in addition to several others.

In what has become the woeful world of WikiLeaks, CNET went on to note that the hackers released a statement to warn: “We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks… The major shitstorm has begun.”

Additional cybersecurity news headlines follow:

Should we believe Chertoff on cyber war? (Huffington Post)

Sen. Carper responds to latest cyber attacks (Press Release)

WikiLeaks battle: a new amateur face of cyber war? (Reuters)

President Clinton on technology, WikiLeaks and the world’s problems (Mashable)

The cyber threat, government network operations, and the Fourth Amendment (Brookings)

Obama administration cracking down on IP violators (Federal News Radio)

3G tech vulnerable to cyber crime, says experts (Hindustan Times)

Ensuring your business’ online safety (Network World)

Al-Akhbar under cyber attack (Na-Harnet)

Former FBI cybersecurity exec joins Mandiant (Washington Technology)

Call of Duty cyber attack prompts arrest of boy, 17 (BBC)

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  1. Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | 1:07 PM at 1:07 PM

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