WikiLeaks Attacks Cause Rival DDoS Retaliation

The biggest news by far for the past week or so has been the attacks on WikiLeaks infrastructure after posting tens of thousands of classified cables online in a categorized form.

Just a few days ago their DNS provider (EveryDNS) pulled the plug – apparently due to pressure from the US government, and also because of the ongoing DDoS attacks against WikiLeaks which also effected them.

The latest development is that ‘Anonymous’ has joined the WikiLeaks side of the argument and start attacking those it sees as detrimental to WikiLeaks.

An anonymous, loosely affiliated group that has been responsible for a series of recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks against entertainment industry Web sites over copyright issues, has started attacking organizations viewed as being hostile to WikiLeaks, says a PandaLabs researcher.

The group, dubbed Anonymous, launched a DDOS attack on Monday that knocked Swiss payment transaction firm PostFinance’s Web site offline. The attack was in apparent retaliation for the firm’s freezing of an account set up by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanage, PandaLabs threat researcher Sean-Paul Correll said.

The bank’s main Web site was unavailable for several hours but appeared to have been restored by late Monday afternoon. The attack on PostFinance was preceded by one against PayPal’s blog site over the weekend, Correll said. That attack was apparently prompted by PayPal’s decision to cut off money services to WikiLeaks last week.

The PayPal attack began at 4.00 a.m PST on Saturday and resulted in the blog being unavailable for a total of more than 8 hours, Correll said. Meanwhile,, a site used by Anonymous to announce their attack plans, came under a massive DDOS attack earlier on Monday, apparently by those opposed to WikiLeaks. In an ironic twist, users attempting to reach the site were being redirected to PostFinance’s Website late Monday evening.

The first target I became aware of was PayPal, due to the fact they froze the WikiLeaks account and ceased processing donations for them. More info on that here:

PayPal Announces It Will No Longer Handle Wikileaks Donations

It seems there are other targets on the list such as the payment processor PostFinance who froze an account set up for Julian Assange the WikiLeaks founder.

A lengthy statement posted on the anonymous group’s Web site listed several organizations that the group claimed had stifled WikiLeaks’ effort to release the documents. “We will find and will attack those who stand against Wikileaks and we will support WikiLeaks in everything they need,” the statement said.

The group said it will offer WikiLeaks an additional site for mirroring the leaked documents. It will also create ‘counter-propaganda’ and organize DDoS attacks on “various targets related to censorship” the group claimed.

Anonymous’ campaign over copyright enforcement issues, Operation:Payback, has resulted in several DDOS attacks being launched against and knocking off sites belonging to the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and others.

In the statement announcing support for Assange, the organizers of Anonymous declared that “Operation:Payback has come out in support of WikiLeaks and has declared war on the entities involved in censoring there information.”

The online tussle between those opposed to WikiLeaks’ campaign and those supporting it highlights how the Internet is increasingly becoming the battleground for all sorts of causes, Correll said.

“People are starting to figure out they can use technology to fight back,” he said. “They have realized they don’t have to just stand in a picket line. This has been going on for a few years, but its getting more organized.”

WikiLeaks has been having a bad time recently, as just before they lost their DNS service – they got kicked off from the Amazon platform.

All in all it seems freedom of speech really isn’t free. If you want to read more about this, there are a LOT of articles – so knock yourselves out.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Hacking News

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15 Responses to WikiLeaks Attacks Cause Rival DDoS Retaliation

  1. Kevan December 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    “Freedom of speech” does not mean that it is alright to tell a burglar where a certain house’s weak point is. It doesn’t mean informing a murderer of when a victim will become vulnerable. When some anti-American pulls a job and kills another 3,000 of our citizens based on his knowledge of things which were intended to be secret, no sane person will claim that providing him the info was an honorable deed.

  2. Chris December 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Don’t sweat it, Kevan…we’re Americans, it’s perfectly all right for everyone else in the world to kill us. In fact, I believe the UN has some sort of law about that, in fact…murder is illegal, unless you’re murdering Americans. It all came out of the UNICEAS (United Nations International Committee for Establishing that America Sucks).

  3. Enki December 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Some examples of closely guarded, classified “Secrets”:

    The U.S. and Canada are close allies.

    Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg and Conservative David Cameron “don’t get along.”

    Enough with the hyperbole and saber-rattling about National Security.

  4. Anthony M. Freed December 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    To see the interviews with the hacker known as The Jester who initially took out the WikiLeaks site, including two videos of his XerXeS DoS attack tool in action see the following posts:

  5. Tobias December 10, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Typical Americans typing absolute rubbish. Your country has the most corrupt government in the world, thank god you will be doomed by the Chinese by 2020.

  6. SJNR December 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    “we’re Americans, it’s perfectly all right for everyone else in the world to kill us”

    or YOU to kill anybody else in the world indiscriminately

    (oh, hold on , a long word :: indiscriminately ;; WTF , just go and look it up)

    The reason the British dont fall foul of Wikileaks (per se) is that we found out about traitors like Philby 30 years ago – USA is just like a petulant little brat that has not grown up yet and is having a hissy fit when they get caught being the prats that they are !

  7. Bogwitch December 10, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    I’e put a link to my name this time, not something I normally do but I don’t fancy repeating what I dribbled over my blog.

    I am a little suprised at the USA reaction on here. I’m suprised that the USA contributors are taking the leaks so personally. The fact is that the leaks were passed to Wikileaks by a member of the armed forces (if we are to believe what we are told) Had the same information been leaked from a member of the UK forces, I have no doubt that Wikileaks would publish those, too. As it is, some of the leaked cables expose British targets…

    And Chris. Two words for you my friend. Friendly fire.

  8. SickofBS December 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    @Tobias “Your country has the most corrupt government in the world”

    The most corrupt? You’re completely full of BS with that comment. Sure we have/had our share of bad leaders but we’re far far from the most corrupt.

    What’s your country BTW? What are they doing to help the world?

    “thank god you will be doomed by the Chinese by 2020.”

    China may overtake us as an economic power and maybe even a military power. And you think that’s a good thing? Open your flippin’ eyes if you think the Chinese gov’t is open, fair, and non-corrupt. You probably whine about the unjust treatment that the US gov’t does to terrorists in Gitmo or Irag or wherever. What the frick do you think the Chinese do to their own people right there in China and Tibet?

    Is your country without fault?

    I’m not denying that we have our problems. Leaders that make bad decisions, stupid individuals that make a fool of themselves when visiting other countries. But for the most part Americans are good, generous people. Unfortunately, some are just stupid and embarrass our country.

    And your country has their share of idiots also. And from your comment, Tobias you’re at the top of the dumb shit stack in your country.

  9. Anonymous December 14, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    “What are they doing to help the world?”

    Very interesting. So American foreign policy has always been trying to help the world? Seriously, your stupidity doesn’t even deserve a sincere reply.

  10. NoBS December 14, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    I think US commenters should really not comment, or if they must, then hire somebody (I suggest a UK resident) to type something that’s at least ‘reasonable’.

    The world is not in good shape, and there’s a lot of bad everywhere, but as a superpower you lot fail completely when it comes to integrity and responsibility.

    BS, media farce, circus land, delusion… those are just some of the things we see coming from your corner.

    The US is a major contributor to the poor state of things everywhere. WTF act all high and mighty, instead of coming out and saying: yes, it seems that we have a problem here, shrouded in BS.

    Perhaps even consider ways to fix it.

    PS You took over a landmass that wasn’t yours in the first place, then act like patriotic clowns. We don’t actually want you back here (yes, Europe… which is NOT in London btw…) – we just want you to act responsibly.


  11. 457M December 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I think the real issue here is the one overlooked by most. The freedom
    of speech comes bundled with responsibility and accountability for the
    words said.
    And yet another issue is peddling stolen goods, or I guess is o.k. when
    it makes the news … ?!

  12. SickofBS December 18, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    I never said that American foreign policy has always been trying to help the world. I asked those that are criticizing to ID their country and explain how they’re better and what they’re doing to help.

    As a superpower, you think we should be doing things different? Yeah, so do many of us.

    You think that the individual American really can have much influence to prevent what some asshole did to prisoners in Iraq? Average Joe American was responsible for the financial meltdown? Not hardly.

    I’m not denying that we have our share of bad people and leaders that have done stupid/unforgivable things. I’m sick of the loads of people that do nothing but criticize the US and take no responsibility of their own failings. Believe or not, your country isn’t perfect either!

    Again, what is your country and tell me what you’re doing and what your leaders do that is noble and saving this world? Come on, spill the details about your country and I’ll dig up crap and accuse you of having bad leaders and being corrupt, etc. Because bad things are happening there also.

    “WTF act all high and mighty, instead of coming out and saying: yes, it seems that we have a problem”
    Who is denying we have a problem? What news source are you reading, who the hell is saying that there’s not problems?

    We took a landmass that wasn’t ours? I wonder if we go back a few hundred or thousand years, who laid claims on your country’s land? And I know you probably don’t realize this but our original settlers were English and many many Europeans quickly followed. So if you want to throw that shit of an argument out there, I guess it was really you folks that “took” the land of the original inhabitants. I just live here ~500 years later.

  13. AmericanCitizen December 19, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Assange stood up for the right, exposing people whose lies have brought over 100,000 deaths to non-americans and americans alike.This is not an american or british thing this is a human thing. This is a message for all the tyrannical forces in the world that there are people who have the ability to challenge them in ways they never imagined. Hackers or should I say ‘slackers’ that assist the fat cats are not true hackers

  14. Bogwitch December 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    I think there are plenty of other forums to have a USA vs. the rest of the world thread. Since this thread disussed Anonymous, perhaps 4chan would be the best place to take it, they LOVE that kind of thread….

  15. pwnsauce December 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    I am fascinated by the XerXes thing, but I have a funny feeling it is nothing more than a mix of SlowLoris, a HTTP POST attack (anon_pwn or SlowPost) and then a fancy GUI that helps you reroute all traffic through TOR or similar anonymizing network.
    That, and a user with a flair for drama…

    Hell, in tests on my own servers SlowPost, SlowLoris and Anon_Pwn did the same job as that XerXes thing – rapid takedown and then relatively quick recovery (my POC code leaves half an hour before the server – an Apache server – is back ‘up’.

    And I am personally in the Wikileaks camp. My opinion is, if you cannot protect the goddamn information you don’t deserve to have it, therefore, the yanks deserved it.