The websites of the international credit card MasterCard and the Swedish prosecution authority are among the latest to be taken offline in the escalating technological battle over WikiLeaks, web censorship and perceived political pressure.
Co-ordinated attacks by online activists who support the site and its founder Julian Assange – who is in UK custody accused of raping two Swedish women – have seen the websites of the alleged victims’ Swedish lawyer disabled, while commercial and political targets have also been subject to attack by a loose coalition of global hackers.
The Swedish prosecution authority has confirmed its website was attacked last night and this morning. MasterCard was partially paralysed today in revenge for the payment network’s decision to cease taking donations to WikiLeaks.
In an attack referred to as Operation Payback, a group of online activists calling themselves Anonymous appear to have orchestrated a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on the financial site, bringing its service to a halt.
Attempts to access www.mastercard.com have been unsuccessful since shortly after 9.30am.
The site would say only that it was “experiencing heavy traffic on its external corporate website” but insisted this would not interfere with its ability to process transactions.