Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, ManageEngine IT Matters, Lori MacVittie

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
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...