Pro Wikileaks Group Knocks Mastercard Offline, More To Come

A clandestine group that supports Wikileaks is taking responsibility for the DDOS (distributed denial of services) problems Mastercard has been experiencing today, the New York Times reported.

"The group, which calls itself Anonymous, explained in a statement that the attacks were an expansion of what it calls Operation Payback, an anti-corporate effort that now includes taking revenge on companies that have suspended WikiLeaks accounts," the New York Times stated.

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Targets so far have included Mastercard.com, which stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks; Amazon.com, which revoked the site's hosting; PayPal, which cut off its donation collections; the lawyer representing the two Swedish women who have accused Mr. Assange in the sex case; and PostFinance, the Swiss postal system's financial arm, which closed founder Julian Assange's account after saying he provided false information by stating he resided in Switzerland.

"The group, which has been targeting commercial sites that have cut their ties with WikiLeaks for some days, has also made threats to other organisations including Twitter, which it says is suppressing the site.

We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks, including multibillion-dollar companies such as PayPal," a statement circulating online, apparently from Operation: Payback, said.

"Twitter, you're next for censoring #WikiLeaks discussion. The major shitstorm has begun," it said," the UK Guardian reported.

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"MasterCard is experiencing heavy traffic on its external corporate website - MasterCard.com. We are working to restore normal speed of service. There is no impact whatsoever on our cardholders ability to use their cards for secure transactions," a Mastercard released statement reported.

According to The Huffington Post: "Other targets that have already been targeted, or threatened with attack, range from Sarah Palin to Sen. Joe Lieberman to PayPal, the last of which recently admitted to bowing to U.S. pressure to break ties with the site."

The hacker army is rallying around the theory that all the actions against Wikileaks and Assange, including the rape accusations, are politically motivated efforts to silence those challenging authority.

Since Twitter is also said to be on the list - will there be more Fail Whales in the near future?

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.