Hackers Getting Even for Assange

By Cindy Waxer December 09, 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have his hands tied as he sits in a British prison, but you better believe his tech-savvy supporters are fighting back. Hackers have launched attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank, and other entities that have come down hard on Assange, according to an Associated Press report.

Members of the cyber-vigilante group “Operation Payback” claimed responsibility for the technological glitches brought down upon MasterCard, which severed ties with WikiLeaks earlier this week. Visa’s website also became inaccessible.

And the Associated Press reports that a website connected to former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was also hacked due to Palin’s earlier remarks that Assange is "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands."

A British judge jailed Assange on Tuesday, “ordering the leader of the secret-spilling website behind bars as his organization's finances came under increasing pressure,” TechZone 360 reported. In response, both Visa and MasterCard stopped allowing their cards to be used to send donations to WikiLeaks.

In late November, WikiLeaks published 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington, D.C..; 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

According to WikiLeaks’ site, “the embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.”

In its own defense, WikiLeaks argues that “the cables show the extent of the U.S. spying on its allies and the U.N.; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in ‘client states’; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for U.S. corporations; and the measures U.S. diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.”

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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