Pro-Wikileaks Hackers Take Down MasterCard Website
According to the Guardian, the 'hacktivists' behind the attack belong to a group called 'Anonymous.' The same group had already orchestrated a similar attack on the Swiss bank PostFinance, which, like MasterCard, had decided to freeze all accounts belonging to Wikileaks. The series of online take-downs appears to be part of a scheme that Anonymous calls 'Operation Payback.' The MasterCard attack was confirmed early this morning, when Twitter user @Anon_Operation tweeted: "WE ARE GLAD TO TELL YOU THAT http://www.mastercard.com/ is DOWN AND IT'S CONFIRMED! #ddos #wikileaks Operation:Payback(is a bitch!) #PAYBACK".
MasterCard's website is now up and running, but experts say other companies may soon find themselves under similar attacks from die-hard Wikileaks supporters. Anonymous, which also has ties to 4chan, has already promised to take revenge on other companies that have cut ties with Wikileaks, including Amazon, PayPal and Visa. "All organizations involved will want to beef up their security efforts in a bid to protect themselves," said Alan Bentley, of security firm Lumension.
MasterCard has yet to comment on the attack, but spokesman Chris Monteiro had previously issued a statement to explain his company's decision to sever ties with Assange's operation. "MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal," Monteiro said.
Wikileaks, meanwhile, seems unfazed by this recent wave of corporate embargoes. On Tuesday, the site released yet another batch of cables, and, in a tweet posted today, spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson confirmed that the organization would stand tall in the face of adversity. "We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship," the tweet read. "Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times."