News / USA

WikiLeaks Supporters Step Up Cyber Attacks

A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holding a poster with his picture gathers outside the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London where Assange's case was heard, 7 Dec, 2010
A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holding a poster with his picture gathers outside the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London where Assange's case was heard, 7 Dec, 2010

Multimedia

Elizabeth Lee

Computer hackers used to be mostly sophisticated criminals, high tech spies or new media pranksters. But now  a new breed of hacker is engaged in what some call a cyber war of political activism.

In the streets of New York, these supporters of the WikiLeaks website want to send a message to anyone who will listen.

"The charges against WikiLeaks are really nothing but a fraud and a cover up," said one supporter of Wikileaks.

But top U.S. officials say classified documents released by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange put American lives at risk, and may be criminal. Assange is now in a British jail on an unrelated sexual assault charge from Sweden.

Unlike these protesters,  tens of thousands of WikiLeaks supporters are making a statement through the Internet.

A group called "Anonymous" has launched cyber attacks against companies that have stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.  Gregg Housh, a spokesman for Anonymous, said "That's made people a little upset so they've decided, 'Let's hurt those companies, let's make them understand it was a bad move.'"

Cyber attacks temporarily shut down the websites of MasterCard and Visa.  Internet activists accuse the credit card companies of being against freedom of information on the Internet.  Housh tells VOA that members of Anonymous consider WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a hero who has not broken any laws by releasing classified information through his website.  

Housh says Anonymous is made up of WikiLeaks supporters from around the world who are mostly in their late teens or 20s. "Anyone can be Anonymous," he said. "There's no central location there's no central server. There's no leaders."

In a Skype Interview with VOA, cyber security expert Paul Sop of Prolexic Technologies says WikiLeaks supporters involved in the latest attacks are not traditional cyber criminals and will be easier to catch.  "You're going to see, from a lot of these WikiLeaks attack activity, several people go to jail from it, because they haven't been altogether clever about hiding their tracks," he said.

But cyber security experts say there is a limit to what police can do because of the large number of participants in these attacks.  Another challenge for law enforcement: Sop says it is impossible to stop the flow of information even if WikiLeaks is shut down.  Hundreds of mirror sites hosting WikiLeaks contents have appeared.  Sop says in the time it would take to shut down one server, the information on WikiLeaks could have been copied 100 times on other websites.

"What it really means is that if you want to distribute information on the Internet, one way or another you're going to be able to do so, and it's beyond the capabilities of the human race to stop it," said Sop.

Some cyber security experts and Internet activists agree that it is too early to tell whether online protest movements will become a permanent way for people to express their ideas, or whether the activists will get bored and abandon what many are calling a cyber war.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid