war between WikiLeaks’ supporters and firms desperate to avoid being associated with the controversial website hotted up yesterday, with Twitter and Facebook being drawn into the fray.
The social networks have kicked accounts run by Operation Payback off their sites after the group orchestrated a number of cyber attacks on firms which have taken action against WikiLeaks.
Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, which have all been attacked in the last week, have withdrawn services to WikiLeaks after it made public thousands of highly confidential diplomatic cables.
Amazon is next in the sights of hackers after it kicked WikiLeaks off its servers. Attackers are disrupting services to websites by downloading a tool, known as LOIC, which effectively allows their computer to be centrally controlled by one master PC. Thousands of computers then simultaneously bombard websites with data, causing them to crash or suffer a massive slowdown in their service. The tool has been downloaded at least 31,000 times.
Facebook and Twitter could now face a similar fate, with hackers accusing them of bowing to government pressure. Alternative pages have been set up on both sites by the organisation.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remained in prison yesterday over allegations of rape and molestation, which he denies. Swedish prosecutors have applied for his extradition.
Meanwhile, Dutch police yesterday arrested a 16-year-old boy in The Hague after he admitted to attacks on the websites of MasterCard and Visa. He will appear in court today.