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UPDATED: Wikileaks supporters wage web war

9 Dec 10

Financial institutions targeted after cutting off controversial site’s cashflow

A group of online activists has begun targeting financial institutions which have withdrawn their services from the controversial Wikileaks website and its founder Julian Assange. The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, perpetrated by individuals across the world, though apparently coordinated by the "Anonymous" group, flooded the websites of Visa and Mastercard with requests, reportedly causing them to become unavailable to legitimate traffic for several hours. Both organisations have moved to reassure customers that core payment processing systems were unaffected and that security was not compromised.

The attacks follow the card associations’ recent decision to stop processing donation payments made to Wikileaks, though both deny having been subject to any political pressure to cut the organisation off, citing instead a breach of their terms and conditions by the site.

There have also been reports of attacks on the website of, the bank which recently suspended Assange’s personal accounts.


Andrew Miller, director, OneSecurity, PwC, has described the activists as being engaged in “the first widespread fight on the Internet against repression and control” and warned those companies under attack may need to decide between “political pressure” and their online revenues. Miller also predicted online retailers could lose out on all-important Christmas custom as a result of the attacks, driving shoppers back to the high street.

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