Wikileaks hacktivists attack shopping web site Amazon

Monday, December 13, 2010

LONDON - Popular shopping web site Amazon was unavailable for some time in several countries on Sunday after it reportedly was attacked by ‘hacktivists’ sympathetic to the whistle blowing web site WikiLeaks.

Though the UK version of the site was up and running within half-an-hour, users in France, Germany and Italy complained about experiencing problems and were still unable to access the site, The Telegraph reports.

Anonymous, a group of online hacktivists who support WikiLeaks, have claimed responsibility for a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in the past week.

The attacks have disrupted the websites of companies including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal by bombarding them with millions of visits in revenge for withdrawing WikiLeaks’ services.

A message on a Twitter account used by the activists, Anonops, tonight read: “We can’t confirm anything because we’ll lose our accounts again. Be alert and you will realize.”

The message was deleted minutes later. An earlier post, which quoted Abraham Lincoln, read: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

Earlier in the week the group appeared to abort an attack against Amazon after it failed to make any impact on the site’s performance.

Members of the loose-knit group posted a message saying: “Attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste.”

DDoS attacks, which are illegal in the UK, involve overloading a website with high numbers of requests so it stops working.

Mike Prettejohn, a director of security firm Netcraft, which is monitoring the attacks, said Amazon was a “difficult target” with a “huge infrastructure”.

Speaking earlier in the week, he said: “It’s a very technically sophisticated company.” (ANI)

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