Following five days of sustained distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the WikiLeaks website has been taken offline.
The whistle blowing website had reportedly been under attack since August 3, apparently from a previously unheard of group known as AntiLeaks, whose mysterious leader “DietPepsi” released a statement claiming responsibility yesterday:
“You can call me DietPepsi. I am the leader of AntiLeaks. We are not doing this to call attention to ourselves. We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America
and are deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and his attempt at aslyum in Ecuador.
Assange is the head of a new breed of terrorist. We are doing this as a protest against his attempt to escape justice into Ecuador. This would be a catalyst for many more like him to rise up in his place. We will not stop and they will not stop us.”
Little else is known about AntiLeaks, who at the time of writing have a massive Twitter following of just eight persons. The only information about the ‘organization’ can be derived from Twitter; apparently, they claim to be from the US, view Julian Assange as a terrorist, and intend to keep up their attacks on WikiLeaks indefinitely.
In response to the DDoS attacks, WikiLeaks have updated their own status on Twitter, saying that they are being targeted for the following reasons:
“Speculation on DDoS attack against WikiLeaks timing: 1. Olympics cover 2. Upcomng release. 3. Ongoing Syria, Stratfor releases”
The Olympics theory is an interesting one. TechWeekEurope, who originally broke news of the attack on WikiLeaks, stated that the whistle blowers hadn’t exposed anything to do with the games, but this seems to be a mistaken assertion. According to the website Buzzfeed, WikiLeaks released a cable in 2011 that revealed an attempt by Azerbaijan to bribe International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) officials to the tune of $10m in order to “guarantee gold medals” for Azerbaijani fighters at the London games. These allegations were later supported by a BBC investigation in September last year, which uncovered evidence of suspicious payments from Azerbaijan to another boxing organization, World Series Boxing (WSB).
Despite being cleared of bribery allegations in December 2011, the reports have come under scrutiny once again following a surprise victory for Azerbaijan’s Magomed Abdulhamidov over Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu on August 1, despite being knocked down no less than six times in the match.
Other recent revelations by WikiLeaks include the release of millions of documents and emails from the US intelligence firm Stratfor, and masses of private emails sent by Syrian government officials.
Since the DDoS attack on WikiLeaks, the site has asked its supporters on Twitter to visit a mirror of the site that is still up and running, in order to donate money so the organization can buy more bandwidth to get back online.