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Wikileaks set to cancel Christmas

Some of us were surprised by the actions of American firms such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Amazon, in trying to close down wikileaks due to their leakage of cables from American embassies.

Bearing in mind that over two million American workers have access to the database that held these cables, they weren’t exactly that secret.

Equally, the leakage is embarrassing, but nothing really that shocking.

So Sarkozy is thin-skinned and Berlusconi likes wild party nights … as if we didn’t know that already.

The reaction however to Julian Assange in particular, in bringing up what appears to be trumped up rape charges – they were originally thrown out by the Swedish courts – and some politicians saying he should be executed, has been extreme.

This from the country that celebrates press freedom day this week.

And this from the country where the government, like they did with SWIFT after 9/11, are quite happy to place pressure on banks and payments providers to shut down operations of which they disapprove.

That is the real reason that MasterCard, Visa and PayPal stopped payments to wikileaks.

So, here’s the real shock.

Supporters of wikileaks from 4Chan targeted MasterCard and brought their web services to a halt today.

Here are just two screenshots and, after fifteen minutes, the UK MasterCard website is still trying to load in my browser and failing.



The attack is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) bomb based upon a LOIC: Low Orbit Ion Cannon, a C# application.  LOICs attack the target by bandwidth reaping - sending TCP, UDP, or HTTP requests to the site until the site goes down.

According to Operation Payback, there are 1084 LOICs active right now, and all targeted at MasterCard.com.

This has also hit 3D Secure and their broadband payments services, although MasterCard deny this.

So here’s the real issue: if wikileaks have such strong support, and hackers target Amazon, MasterCard, Visa and PayPal and bring down all of their web-based services … should we cancel Christmas this year?

 It is all part of Operation Payback: "an anonymous, decentralized movement which fights against censorship and copywrong", with Twitter the next target for trying to hide the conversation.

There are some fascinating details on their website also, along with a few interesting quotes:

"The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops."
John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble."
Ron Paul

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
– George Orwell (My Few Wise Words of Wisdom' (2000) by Charles Walker)

 From Mikko Rauhala:


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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