Panda Labs blog reported Operation Payback, the pro-piracy movement responsible for several denial of service (DoS) attacks against groups seeking stricter enforcement of copyright laws, has initiated a campaign in support of whistleblower organization Wikileaks.
The public relations arm of the international coalition of hackers known as Anonymous announced their intention to engage in several DoS attacks, the first of which against the blog of online interchange service PayPal.
On December 3rd PayPal announced it was suspending the fund-raising account of WikiLeaks for violation of the Acceptable Use Policy, stating:
"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We have notified the account holder of this action. "
Following PayPal's suspension of the WikiLeaks account, Anonymous launched the DoS attack, and tweeted the following messages:
“TANGO DOWN — thepaypalblog.com — Blog of Paypal, company that has restricted Wikileaks’ access to funding. #Paypal #Wikileaks #WL #DDoS”
“Close your #Paypal accounts in light of the blatant misuse of power to partially disable #Wikileaks funding. Join in the #DDoS if you’d like”
The PayPal blog was reported to have been offline for several hours as a result.
Anonymous released additional statements, which included references to the DoS attacks levied against WikiLeaks which began on November 28th, and attributed to a hacker known only as The Jester (th3j35t3r):
"The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and not express how we feel. We can not let this happen, that is why we will find out who is attacking WikiLeaks and with that find out who tries to control our world..."
A second more sophisticated and powerful DoS attack was launched against the WikiLeaks site on November 30th. WikiLeaks suffered more setbacks during the week.
Amazon, which had began hosting the WikiLeaks site to shield them from the attacks, pulled an about-face on December 1st and announced they would no longer do so.
Then EveryDNS.net revoked the WikiLeaks domain names on December 2nd at 10pm US Eastern Standard Time due to the relentless DoS attacks.
WikiLeaks has also announced their intentions to release confidential documents that may show a culture of criminal activity at large U.S. based enterprises, including a major bank.