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February 28, 2021

WikiLeaks cyber war: hackers bring down Swedish government site

Anonymous hackers who claim they are defending WikiLeaks brought down the Swedish government’s website amid warnings they will attack again, The Telegraph reports. The official site, regeringen.se, was offline for several hours overnight and only a message saying the site could not be reached was visible.
Commercial websites including Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have already been targeted by co-ordinated action on one of the busiest shopping days of the year after the firms said that they would no longer process donations to WikiLeaks.

A group calling itself Anonymous and operating under the banner “Operation Payback” was behind some of the attacks and there were concerns that Twitter could become a target because it removed Anonymous’ listing. A 22-year-old software engineer who called himself Coldblood said: “The campaign is not over, it’s still going strong. More and more people are joining. “I see this as becoming a war – but not a traditional war: this is a war of data.” He added: “We are trying to keep the internet free for everyone.” The actions so far have been essentially attacks by volume, known as DDoS or distributed denial of service, in which the target site is hit with massively increased numbers of visitors with the intention of exceeding its capabilities and forcing it to crash.

In this case, hundreds of volunteers have downloaded something called a botnet, which aids the distribution of the command to attack the site. The volunteers wait until they are given a signal on an internet chatroom, before launching the massed attack. The attacks are illegal in Britain and carry a maximum sentence of two years.

Internet security experts warned that Amazon could be next after the firm removed WikiLeaks contents from one of its services.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be nominated for a Nobel Prize, a source in the Kremlin told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “Non-governmental and governmental organizations should think of ways to help him. Perhaps he could be awarded a Nobel prize,” the source said.

The founder of the controversial whistleblowing website was arrested in London on Tuesday. He was wanted by Sweden on sex assault charges. An arrest warrant for Assange was issued by Swedish prosecutors last week just days after his website published the first batch of over 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables. The 39-year-old Australian currently tops an online poll for Time Person of the Year. The choice will be made by the editors next Wednesday.

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