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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack (DDoS)

WikiLeaks Under DDoS Attack Around Time of Expected Massive Release of State Department Documents

WikiLeaks has reported that its Web site is currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack. The whistleblower Web site posted an update via Twitter early Sunday afternoon.

The attack comes around the time of an expected release of classified State Department documents, which the Obama administration says will put "countless" lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize U.S. relations with its allies. The expected released of State Department documents is expected to be seven times the size of the 400,000 Iraq war documents released in October.

WikiLeaks noted that media outlets including El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYT will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down from the DDoS attack.

The Web site seems to be inconsistent over the past 15 minutes or so, responding to some requests successfully and timing out other times.

 

Related: WikiLeaks Shows the Need for Improved Separation and Isolation of Information

Related: Can Your Organization Survive a Massive Cyber Attack?

 

WikiLeaks DDoS Attack

 

The State Department in a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and his attorney Jennifer Robinson dated November 27th reads as follows:

 

Dear Ms. Robinson and Mr. Assange:

I am writing in response to your 26 November 2010 letter to U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman regarding your intention to again publish on your WikiLeaks site what you claim to be classified U.S. Government documents.

As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.

It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents.

Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would:

* Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals -- from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

* Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

* Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries - partners, allies and common stakeholders -- to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.

In your letter, you say you want -- consistent with your goal of "maximum disclosure" -- information regarding individuals who may be "at significant risk of harm" because of your actions.

Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger. We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials. If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks' databases.

Sincerely,

(Signed By)

Harold Hongju Koh, Legal adviser to the State Department


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