“Hacktivist” Supporters of Julian Assange Allegedly Shut Down MasterCard Website

A group of anonymous “hacktivists” has reportedly launched “Operation Payback”—an online attack whose goal is to shut down the websites of banks and companies that have cut off business ties with Wikileaks. According to Huffington Post, the MasterCard website has been DOWN since approximately five o’clock this morning.

BBC has said that a group of hackers who are supporters of Julian Assange are taking credit for shutting down the MasterCard site. PostFinance, a Swiss bank, has confirmed that its website was attacked after it closed Assange’s bank account earlier this week.

Edited to Add:
From Huffington Post: WikiLeaks Cablegate LIVE Updates

From guardian.co.uk: PayPal admits US pressure over WikiLeaks account freeze

Sources:

Huffington Post

DW-World

– Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

83 thoughts on ““Hacktivist” Supporters of Julian Assange Allegedly Shut Down MasterCard Website”

  1. Slartibartfast: I was not trying to imply that the banksters or any government would succeed in breaking the Insurance File encryption. Of course they will try, they have to, but any professional cryptographer knows it is a high bar to jump. My comments were for those who fear the codes will be broken by those threatened by WL.

    The only option left for them is to attempt to disable the dead-man switch; you are absolutely correct about that. Unfortunately for them, Julian Assange and his associates are most likely well ahead of them. A true dead-man switch is one where the principal has to log on periodically or send some sort of message. No log on, and the thing goes off. Consider the technology where a college or business sends a text message to everyone on the list. That is how the thing is probably going to be released, if it ever is. Probably multiple releases that include text, Twitter and email.

    How many computers like yours and mine so you suppose have that 1.4 GB file sitting on the hard drive or disc, waiting for a signal?

  2. BIL, “The only way to change a base range of reactions is to change the parameters of the organism proper.”
    ——-
    Blouise: “Yes, for the mere asking of the question indicates the presence/progress of the mutation.”
    ——-

    I’m with Blouise on this one. The ability to empathize has been seen in many animals and the ability to mirror behavior has been seen in everything from schools of fish to riots. Refining that to the assignment of sentinel members of a group to keep watch and warn of danger weather merkeets or dolphins is well known. The DNA is already there.

  3. This is funny: “Anonymous isn’t merely attacking companies that caved to government pressure regarding WikiLeaks. Its agenda is far more insidious: Anonymous has taken sides with the forces of evil in the War on Christmas!

    Retribution on behalf of an organization leaking classified documents is one thing. But when you actively seek to undermine the holiest time of the year — the holiday shopping season — then you’ve crossed a line.” (from IT world)

  4. lottakatz,

    Thanks for that most recent post (December 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm) … you just saved me a lot of huntin’ and clickin’ work 🙂

  5. SwM and J. Brian Harris,

    To spy a Leopold bench in someone’s yard is to know something about the family who there resides.

    “When some remote ancestor of ours invented the shovel, he became a giver: He could plant a tree. And when the axe was invented, he became a taker: He could chop it down. Whoever owns land has thus assumed, whether he knows it or not, the divine functions of creating and destroying plants.” (ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, Axe in Hand, 1949)

  6. Otteray Scribe at 10:35 am: “The hacker groups “Anonymous” and “4Chan”…”
    —-

    Exciting day in’it? 🙂

    Did 4Chan take responsibility? I haven’t visited their “b” board lately so I don’t know, but they did come to mind when the action started to go into overdrive. If they can ferret out cat torturers in Alabama (or where ever it was) based on an offensive upload and have their names and addresses turned over to the local police in 24 hours they’re good at what they do, and have my respect. Bless their hearts.

    From what I’ve seen tooling around the interwebs a couple of persistent theories abide in the comments:

    Concern over the first batch of cables by the government is manufactured; no matter how much of that stuff comes out it never leads to reform. It’s the info about the BANKS that is what is driving this war on Assange. That kind of resonates with me.

    The second deals with the ability by the President to “shut down” parts of the internet if he deems it necessary based on the Cyber Security Act of 2009 which was recently amended by the Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity Act. A lot of people are speculating that this is the perfect opportunity to test drive this law and that may be taking place right now, the government engaging in (legal) cyberwar against Wikileaks.

    There is also the contingent that thinks Wikileaks is a CIA op designed to ferret out the likes of Bradley Manning and give the government an excuse to invoke The 2009 Act. !?!?! How paranoid is too paranoid? That’s a bridge too far for even me. At this time 🙂

    I think this is the 2009 Act, text of it with the 2010 amendments and revisions is hard to tract down. I’ve been trying and maybe my skills are degrading but this is as close as I could come after a couple of hours, the 2009 Act. I wanted to see just what it said.

    It’s my understanding that the most relevant part of the Act is the President’s (or his designee’s) “(6) may order the disconnection of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security;”

    The only real change between the original Act and the recent amendment by Rockefeller-Snowe (if it passed with the language intact) is that after 4 months of an act of directed interruption the President must involve Congress in advising and consent for continuation of the interruption, but I don’t know if that was actually passed.

    The debate comes in determining what exactly the definition of US critical infrastructure is. The Act also brings private electric information distribution business’ into a partnership with the new Cybersecurity agency so one may well presume that private information infrastructure is part of the power granted in the Act.

    Whatever is going on, (and the devil is in the details that we will probably never know) it’s heavy.

    Cybersecurity Act of 2009:

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s773/text

    Relevant language:
    SEC. 18. CYBERSECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY.
    The President–
    (1) within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, shall develop and implement a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy, which shall include–
    (A) a long-term vision of the Nation’s cybersecurity future; and
    1
    (B) a plan that encompasses all aspects of national security, including the participation of the private sector, including critical infrastructure operators and managers;
    35
    (2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network;
    (3) shall designate an agency to be responsible for coordinating the response and restoration of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network affected by a cybersecurity emergency declaration under paragraph (2);
    (4) shall, through the appropriate department or agency, review equipment that would be needed after a cybersecurity attack and develop a strategy for the acquisition, storage, and periodic replacement of such equipment;
    2
    (5) shall direct the periodic mapping of Federal Government and United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks, and shall develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of the mapping process;
    12
    (6) may order the disconnection of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security;

  7. In 1955, my family moved from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. My dad had picked cherries in Brown’s Orchard, near Sturgeon Bay, during his vacation time, and had earned enough to buy a 18 foot Grumman canoe with a Gunter rig (65 square foot) sail. We brought that canoe with us to Detroit Lakes.

    With a flashlight to make other night-time boaters aware of us, there were times when the late evening weather was ideal for sailing on Big Detroit Lake. With a light breeze, a sailing canoe may seem quieter than silence.

    The call of a loon heard, while sailing silently, from the far side of such a lake was, for me, an experience of depth and breadth of beauty beyond my ability with words to describe.

    And, I have the wood and the plans for making two or three (or more?) Aldo Leopold benches for use in our yard, come next spring. Not yet on hand for the benches are the usual carriage bolts, washers, nuts, and wood screws.

  8. ” Is our DNA up to the challenge of making the transition from primarily competitive modes of behavior to primarily cooperative modes of behavior without beneficial mutation? That, as the Bard would say, is the question. One which I have no answer for.” (Buddha to Slarti)

    Yes, for the mere asking of the question indicates the presence/progress of the mutation.

  9. Buddha,

    Thanks, now I don’t have to come up with an answer to my question on my own… 😉

    In answer to your question, since I believe that we are essentially wired to cooperate with ‘us’ and compete with ‘them’, I think that our DNA is up to the task. The challenge is to broaden our definition of ‘us’ (which will, of course, be different in different contexts – really all that is necessary is raising the relative importance of the more inclusive definitions). Once the ‘default’ value of ‘us’ is all of humanity a better society will evolve/have evolved (assuming we are correct that this is a beneficial mutation). Or at least that’s how I see it.

  10. Slarti,

    First, I do include the evolution of our thinking that is enabled by improvements in our developmental process as part of our physical evolution, ergo our difference there is probably semantic.

    Second, the question. Short answer, yes. Long answer, we are creatures of both nurture and nature, but no amount of nurture can completely overwhelm nature. It can influence nature, but nature has the trump card. Example: circumstance, like growing up in a war zone, can turn what would have been a peaceable person under “normal” circumstance into a killer, but at the same time, there are examples of killers who come from stable environments. There are also some people though who simply will not kill, no matter the circumstance. The only way to change a base range of reactions is to change the parameters of the organism proper. Is our DNA up to the challenge of making the transition from primarily competitive modes of behavior to primarily cooperative modes of behavior without beneficial mutation? That, as the Bard would say, is the question. One which I have no answer for.

  11. J. Brian Harris: Are you aware of the work of the Wisconsin ecologist Aldo Leopold? The loon is the Minnesota state bird.

  12. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E.-

    Thank you for the beautiful poem, “The Loon”. My younger brother, his wife, and I go to Eagle River, Wisconsin every summer to fish for the elusive musky. Along with watching the bald eagles while we fish, our other favorite thing is to see a loon and watch it disappear under the water and reappear 100 yards away. To me the cry of a loon coming across a lake on a quiet Summer night is the most beautiful sound in nature.

  13. Hopefully this isn’t old news:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/30/wikileaks-cablegate-live-_n_789789.html#97_top-human-rights-lawyer-to-defend-assange

    8:23 AM ET Top Human Rights Lawyer To Defend Assange

    Geoffrey Robertson, a high-profile human rights lawyer, will represent the WikiLeaks founder in court. According to Reuters:

    Robertson, a barrister who has dual British and Australian nationality, has appeared in some of the highest-profile freedom of speech trials in British history.

    He was also among the defence team in the trial for the IRA bombing of the Brighton hotel which targeted then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the mid-1980s.

    One reason for the choice is probably Robertson’s familiarity with extradition law, as there are still fears that Assange’s case could lead to a U.S. extradition. Reports the Sydney Morning Herald:

    But London legal sources warned that the European arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange over sexual assault claims in Sweden is difficult to ”avoid or challenge”. He and his lawyers plan to fight the extradition with every available resource. There is growing fear that this case could lead to a hand-over to US authorities in the wake of the release of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.

    The Age believes that Mr Robertson, whose chambers are one of the few with a specialist in extradition proceedings with Scandinavian nations, has been in contact with Assange about his defence and met federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland about the case.

    end excerpt

  14. Buddha,

    As the elements of society (people) are products of both the evolution of their physical bodies and the environmental conditions during their development, I would argue that society can evolve without physical evolution by changing the environment in which people develop (e.g. teaching people that ‘us’ is the entire human race). Certainly we have seen great evolutionary changes in society throughout recorded history without large changes in our physical forms. Although, if you are including the evolution of our thinking that is enabled by improvements in our development process as part of our physical evolution, then I think the differences in our opinions are probably just semantic – certainly physical and societal evolution influence each other (and both likewise interact with developmental evolution).

    Question: Do you believe there is a limit to the evolution of our society in the absence of any evolution of our DNA?

  15. Slarti,

    I submit that evolution of society and evolution of the species are co-joined factors. Society cannot change without changes in the species as the species’ baseline traits describe the initial conditions that make society. Concurrently, social change by propagation of memes shapes the view of what we as a species need for survival. One is a feedback loop of form to function and the other a feedback loop of information required to properly evaluate form and function.

  16. “Only, without exception in my life so far, every “them” I have ever met actually was only another ‘us.'” (J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E.)

    There is a great deal of beauty in that simple observation.

  17. Jill said:

    P.S. The Nerds took down Visa! Talk about mechanical hearts. This corporate govt. beats on money. Taking that away from it is crucial to peaceful resistance.

    I agree totally – the corporate influence on governments can’t be beaten until the corporations are engaged on the battlefield that matters to them – money. What happens to the oil industry’s lobbying power as the proportion of energy coming from alternative sources increases? We all need to become more aware of the fact that we are voting with every dollar we spend and help educate ourselves and others about exactly what we are casting our votes for…

  18. I’m certain this describes the US. The whole article is shocking. “Despite billions of dollars in oil revenue, 70% of people live below the poverty line. Photograph: George Osodi/AP

    The oil giant Shell claimed it has inserted its staff into all key ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.” (from The Guardian)

    P.S. The Nerds took down Visa! Talk about mechanical hearts. This corporate govt. beats on money. Taking that away from it is crucial to peaceful resistance.

  19. By the time I began kindergarten, I had heard people tell of how “they” are not like “us.” Of course those who told about “them” were sure that “they” were “us” and not “them.”

    Or were they?

    I have encountered a bunch of folks, including many who I had been told were not “us,” but were “them.”

    Only, without exception in my life so far, every “them” I have ever met actually was only another “us.”

    If only I could find a way to actually encounter one of “them,” I might be able to learn how we and they differ.

    In my effort(s) to meet a “them” to learn about “them,” I have met with only absolutely perfect failure.

    What is wrong with me? Am I a them?

    If I am a them, am I alone as a them?

    If I am a them, and there are lots of them, would not they be us to me?

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