4chan 'helps' WikiLeaks, Julian Assange: Shuts down bank Web site

Sup /b/? 4chan.org's Fawkes-masked army of Anonymous has been avenging Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Using their private LOIC botnet, they've managed to shut down the Web sites of PayPal, Mastercard, VISA, and PostFinance.

Julian Assange (The Guardian)
By Richi Jennings. December 8, 2010.

Here's the latest in the WikiLeaks soap opera: 4chan has rallied its Anonymous troops to chip in. Using their 'Low Orbit Ion Cannons', they DDoS'ed and shut down the Web site of PostFinance, the bank that froze money belonging to Julian Assange. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder where it will all end.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention more vintage computer ads...

Charles Arthur brings us up to speed (in case you've been living in a cave):

On Sunday 28 November Wikileaks began releasing the first of its 250,000 leaked US embassy cables.


Saturday 4 December: PayPal, owned by US auction site eBay, permanently restricts account used by WikiLeaks.


Monday 6 December: Credit card company Mastercard withdraws ability to make donations to Wikileaks. ... Postfinance, the Swiss postal system, strips WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool.


Tuesday 7 December: Credit card company Visa withdraws ability to make donations or payments to Wikileaks.

Peter Bright shines a light on 4chan's involvement:

4chan's hordes have launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against PayPal, Swiss bank PostFinance, and other sites that have hindered the whistleblowing site's operations. ... The attacks are being performed under the Operation: Payback banner ... the name the group is using in its long-running attacks on the RIAA, MPAA, and other organizations.


The initial attacks against PayPal were substantially ineffective. ... The attacks against PostFinance, however, have resulted in the bank's website being unavailable. ... Twitter has also been named as a future attack target, due to its claimed censorship of the #wikileaks hashtag.

Let's all read Max Read:

The publication of hundreds of classified diplomatic cables ... is also an act of very high-level trolling. So is it really any surprise that ... anti-Scientology troll-hacker-vigilantes known for hanging around the 4chan image boards, [are] striking out in his defense?


"Operation Avenge Assange" ... aimed at the Swiss bank PostFinance, which froze Assange's assets, was very successful, and has kept the site down for some 24 hours as of this writing.

Parmy Olson notes the help offered from a different quarter -- a co-founder of The Pirate Bay:

WikiLeaks' ... recently-incarcerated founder Julian Assange should be grateful for the support he’s getting from a brother in arms: Peter Sunde ... [who] reminded his Twitter followers that they could still donate money to WikiLeaks through his micro-donation site ... Flattr.


Flattr also needs to be careful. ... There’s always the risk that PayPal, which is not shy of shutting down users’ accounts when it sees a red flag, could do the same to Flattr.

And Andrés Guadamuz is consciously "grandiloquent":

For Internet regulation geeks, last week has been one of the most exciting events in recent times ... the ultimate case study into the interaction between traditional regulatory methods and that ... self-regulating communications network that we call the Internet. ... The importance of what we are currently witnessing cannot be overstated.


Wikileaks exemplifies the very idea of the Internet as an unregulated space, a new country where self-organisation reigns supreme, the very essence of Barlowian theory. ... The Internet’s architecture favours distributed solutions, therefore making websites like Wikileaks very difficult to successfully shut down.


The regulatory solutions offered so far have simply made the Internet angry, and just like Hulk, you don’t want to see the Internet angry. ... If we have learned anything at all this week is that what many of us suspected about our governments and how they conduct their business has been proven right.

Meanwhile, Ryan Fleming stares into his crystal balls:

In the announcement message are three other images with lines through them indicating that they are also scheduled to receive Anonymous’ attention.


Interpol, which issued the arrest warrant for Assange. ... Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, who accused Assange of illegal conduct. ... Sarah Palin, who claimed that Assange should be hunted down in the same manner [of] al Queda leaders.


And Finally...

13 Vintage Computer Ads Show How Far We've Come

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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