WikiLeaks hit by 'denial of service attack'

30/11/2010

On the day it began leaking US embassy cable communications, Wikileaks says it was hit by hackers. Wikileaks claimed to have been hit by a “mass distributed denial of service attack” yesterday.

The revelation came over the organisation’s Twitter page on the day Wikileaks started to release a range of US Embassy cable communications. Wikileaks’ website is now up and running as it continues to leak documents. A hacker going by the name of ‘th3j35t3r’ claimed over Twitter to have been responsible for taking down the website.

30/11/2010

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Roger Rawlinson, managing director of Assurance Division at NCC Group, comments on the denial of service attack that crashed the WikiLeaks website: “The website has obviously drawn a huge amount of attention over the last few days and therefore, as with any other extremely visible site, has become a 'target' for this type of attack.

"However, this has the added dimension of being highly political and will therefore raise emotions of both its supporters and detractors, increasing it as a likely prime target. In this case particularly, there are quite a few powerful individuals and organisations who are keen to see its activities stopped.

“However, as with all information posted on the internet, it is out there for all to see and once the information is on the Internet, it is out there, forever. Therefore any attempt to stop the leaks at this point may be counter productive. It stresses the need to review the governance, procedure and controls to prevent the leaks in the first place, before they are even disclosed.

“It also serves to highlight how vulnerable sites are to these forms of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which can be very difficult to combat effectively. While the timing of the attack is obviously not coincidental, given that WikiLeaks protects against this form of attack through allowing open distribution and replication of its material, effectively making it impossible to prevent, it is hard to speculate exactly what the purpose behind the attack was.”

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