Earlier today WikiLeaks tweeted that its website has been under large-scale DDoS attacks since August 3.
For the unitiated, DDoS stands for distributed denial of service, a tactic used by both states and hackers like Anonymous to bombard a website’s server with so much traffic that it is crippled. As of right now, the WikiLeaks website is not loading, a telltale sign of a DDoS attack. It’s also worth noting that The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing website that has provoked the wrath of government and industry, was also down for a number of days, according to ZDNet.
WikiLeaks has been under sustained large scale DDoS attacks since August 3. Help us purchase more bandwidth: shop.wikileaks.org/donate
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 7, 2012
What type of hacker or organization has the means of carrying out a sustained, large-scale DDoS attack? Either it’s a well-organized group of anti-WikiLeaks hackers or, far more likely, a state or state sponsors. Such a sustained attack against WikiLeaks might well take the considerable resources of a state to pull off.
The most likely suspects? Any government opposed to WikiLeaks.
The US government, which was publicly humiliated by WikiLeaks leaked cables, has been trying to neutralize the free information publisher and its editor Julian Assange for the last two years. There is no way to prove the US is DDoSing WikiLeaks because they will never publicly admit using the tactic, but the country certainly has the most to gain from silencing WikiLeaks.
And any number of governments who found their diplomatic cables exposed in Cablegate could also have a bone to pick.
An alternative but far less likely view could be that the DDoS is coming from anti-Assange hackers in the Open Government movement. That is, hackers who believe Assange’s recent legal antics are hurting efforts in free information and open government. Again, there’s no way to prove this, but it is interesting to consider, especially given that WikiLeaks supporter David House has even come out against Assange recently.
Perhaps the truth will eventually come out, and maybe WikiLeaks will even reveal it in an ironic turn.