Post image for Operation Payback retaliates on behalf of Wikileaks

Operation Payback retaliates on behalf of Wikileaks

by Jorge Hernandez on December 9, 2010

The self-proclaimed Anonymous, a group of hackers who are mounting an online insurgence on behalf of Wikileaks and its arrested founder, managed to shut down major websites that previously cut funding to the website including PayPal, Visa and Mastercard on Wednesday as part of their campaign to avenge Julian Assange.

The attacks largely come in the form of a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, the first of which dismantled PayPal's blog for eight hours on Saturday. Visa, Mastercard, and a Swiss bank have also come under online attack since then, with the most recent one on Sweden's official government website, which reportedly went offline late Wednesday night.

Anonymous also targeted the websites of Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman, who both advocated the technical defensive on Wikileaks.

"No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics. This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts," said Sarah Palin in an email to ABC News.

Members of Anonymous told the Associated Free Press that they numbered in the thousands and described Assange as a "free-speech martyr."

"We recruit through the Internet, that means, everywhere – imageboards, forums, Facebook, Twitter… you name it, we're using it," they told the news source.

Facebook and Twitter recently shut down Anonymous users' access to their accounts due to the illegal activity, however, though the official Wikileaks Facebook and Twitter pages remain open.

"Of course, Anonymous is expected to keep creating new accounts as quickly as Facebook and Twitter squash them. It's a bit like Whack-a-Mole or doing battle with a hydra, in that sense," writes Jolie O'Dell of Mashable.

According to the New York Times, Anonymous has previously attacked other groups such as the Church of Scientology.

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