|By Maureen O'Gara||
|December 13, 2010 07:45 AM EST||
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.
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."
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 9, 2016 02:15 AM EST Reads: 6,221
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Dec. 9, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,005
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 9, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 1,654
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,204
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 882
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 705
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,242
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 967
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Dec. 8, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 411
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,729
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,825
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,259
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,855
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 2,324
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 8, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,248
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Dec. 8, 2016 03:00 PM EST Reads: 540
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 8, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 953
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,200
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 802
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 785