PayPal has closed the account used by WikiLeaks to receive donations, prompting the Anonymous group of hacktivists to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against its blog.
WikiLeaks doesn’t seem to be able to get a break since it started releasing the U.S. Department of State diplomatic cables at the beginning of this week.
It has been the target of constant DDoS attacks which initially forced it to switch hosting from Sweden to Amazon. However, this was short lived because the U.S.-based company bowed to political pressure and kicked the whistleblowing site off its servers.
This move was also followed by EveryDNS, the wikileaks.org DNS service provider, which cited concern for its network due to DDoS.
WikiLeaks took its business to a French hosting company called OVH, thinking that Europe might provide more stability. But it was forced to move again after the French industry ministry threatened companies hosting WikiLeaks content with repercussions.
The latest blow came from PayPal, which announced that it suspended the organization's account, after playing judge to decide what's illegal.
“PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity,” the company said on its blog.
Fortunately, WikiLeaks is not without friends. Amongst them are the international Pirate Parties, which put freedom of information online as top priority on their political agenda.
The Swiss Pirate Party has registered wikileaks.ch and obtained assurances from SWITCH, the .ch ccTLD operator, that there is no basis for domain suspension under the current situation.
Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the attacks on WikiLeaks and the threats made by American officials against Assange, calling them a danger to the freedom of expression and net neutrality.
Anonymous also stepped up and decided to respond to retaliate to attacks against WikiLeaks. The group is known for not holding back on using illegal means to achieve its goals.
“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same: we want transparency (in our case in copyright) and we counter censorship,” the group said in a statement, according to Panda Security.
“The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and not express how we feel. We can not let this happen,” it added.
The first target for its signature DDoS attacks was PayPal’s blog, which has been down for several hours already.