WikiLeaks.org domain back online

Domain name restored less than two weeks after EveryDNS terminated wikileaks.org citing reliability concerns.

The main WikiLeaks Web site, WikiLeaks.org, is back up in the U.S. less than 10 days after domain name service provider EveryDNS terminated the whistleblower organization's domain name, citing stability concerns.

The restored site is now being hosted by Silicon Valley Web Hosting and is using Dynadot, a San Mateo, Calif.-based firm as its registrar and DNS provider, according to Netcraft, an Internet monitoring firm based in the U.K. The site has been up and running since Friday, according to Netcraft.

For the moment, the U.S site does not appear to be serving up any content. Instead, it is redirecting users to a mirror site hosted by an Internet service provider in Russia, said Paul Mutton, a security analyst at Netcraft.

Even so, it is surprising to see WikiLeaks.org being hosted again in the U.S. considering the amount of opposition there has been to its recent actions, Mutton said.

On Dec. 3, EveryDNS announced that it was terminating the WikiLeaks.org domain name because of repeated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that were launched against the Web site soon after it started publishing classified cables from the U.S. Department of State. EveryDNS said it was deactivating WikiLeaks.org because of concerns that the DDoS attacks would cause problems for the nearly 500,000 other Web sites running on EveryDNS's infrastructure.

Prior to that, Amazon.com also terminated service to WikiLeaks over alleged terms of service violations. PayPal, MasterCard and Visa also subsequently cut ties with WikiLeaks, citing similar violations.

The companies maintain that they acted independently of government pressure. Some have expressed skepticism about such claims, especially since Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Ind-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said his office had contacted Amazon just a day before the company terminated service to WikiLeaks.

In response to EveryDNS's actions, WikiLeaks established several new country-level domains, such as WikiLeaks.ch in Switzerland, WikiLeaks.at in Austria and WikiLeaks.cc in Cocos Islands. It then pointed the new domains back to existing IP addresses, or began having the new domains hosted with service providers in different countries.

WikiLeaks also heavily reinforced its WikiLeaks.ch domain to avoid a repeat of what happened with EveryDNS. To mitigate the possibility of one DNS provider once again shutting off the domain as EveryDNS had done, WikiLeaks signed up with separate DNS service providers in eight different countries, including Switzerland, Canada and Malaysia. The WikiLeaks.ch site today has a total of 14 different name servers across 11 different networks providing authoritative name services for the WikiLeaks.ch domain. In addition, analysts estimate there are more than 1,000 mirror sites around the world serving up WikiLeaks content.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

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