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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 M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.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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  • At least wikileaks didn’t buy stolen data, unlike the British Government

  • Great post…
    Check out also Jeff Jarvis’ comments on what the US ‘patriotic’ attacks on Wikileaks means for freedom of the press:

  • Alain R

    Chris, obviously you haven’t heard yet of the most devastating consequences: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/war/wikileaks-row-stops-someone-from-buying-a-chris-de-burgh-album-201012093336/

  • “.. the hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don’t you know what that means? Well, I will tell you. You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
    it is foolish to manufacture consent..

  • D Wiatzka

    Wikileaks and its supporters miss the point of free speech and freedom of the press. Leaking confidential information is a crime which is superceded when it exposes an even greater crime. E.g. leaking confidential information which exposes criminal activities of a president such as Watergate.
    To date nothing Wikileaks has brought to light has resulted in any criminal prosecution.
    Given this fact, Wikileaks has done nothing to contribute to good governance and the rule of law. Rather, they’ve promoted an atmosphere in which vital leaks may not happen and/or may be overlooked.
    Further, since these leaks are not exposing greater crimes Wikileaks is guilty of the crime of violating confidentiality.
    Their law breaking should be treated as such and we should not succumb to the mob rules attitude of Wikileaks’ reckless anarchist supporters.

  • I would gloss a little bit: the freedom to think (by yourself) and to speak-out your thoughts is PRICELESS

  • Lets see how impressed you are when the GOVT intelligence agencies use their own Wiki Leaks cyberwar operation as justification to take down the internet and censor it heavily. Joe Lieberman already has that legislation written and in committee. Wow, have you ever seen Congress so efficient? Maybe only on the Patriot Act- 1500 pages of which was already on their desks, ready to go on Sept 12 ?