An organization of online "hacktivists" linked to the 4Chan network "partially paralyzed" MasterCard.com on Wednesday after the credit card company stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks. The group, known as Anonymous, orchestrated the illegal DDoS attack (distributed denial of service) as part of the "Operation: Payback" campaign supporting WikiLeaks.
Although the Anonymous website is itself now suspended -- call that getting a taste of your own medicine -- Surge Desk recovered an earlier statement from the group preserved by Google cache (as it appeared at 4 a.m. GMT today).
"While we don't have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons," the statement explains. "We want transparency and we counter censorship. The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and are unable to express our opinions and ideas."
Anonymous confirmed the hack via Twitter:
MasterCard isn't the only company to be targeted by Anonymous for cutting off WikiLeaks. Swiss bank PostFinance was also hit with an apparent DDoS attack after it froze an account tied to the anti-secrecy organization.
Who's next on the 4Chan/Anonymous hit list? Surge Desk breaks down five possible targets (as they appeared on the cached page) specified by the hacktivist army.
1. The Media
While some media commentators have spoken positively of WikiLeaks -- namely Wired's Evan Hansen -- there's certainly no shortage of online coverage that's been critical of the group. Because of that, Anonymous says the websites of Fox News, CNN, The Washington Times and the BBC are on its radar.
Amazon.com booted WikiLeaks from its servers after the company was questioned by congressional staff about its relation to WikiLeaks -- and thus has apparently drawn the ire of the hackers.
Like MasterCard, Visa also ceased processing donations to WikiLeaks. The hackers point out that despite not servicing WikiLeaks, the credit card company will process contributions to the KKK.
A report from the BBC today states that PayPal stopped handling WikiLeaks donations after the company received a letter from the U.S. State Department. According to the Anonymous website: "PayPal's main site needs to be hit hard. With shopping coming up and people needing to pay for their online purchases, this will really put them at a halt and regret messing with Wikileaks and Anon."
5. Sarah Palin
Specifically sarahpac.com. Palin is an outspoken critic of Assange and WikiLeaks. The organization's founder even gave her a personal mention -- "Sarah Palin says I should be 'hunted down like Osama bin Laden'" -- in his recently published op-ed in "The Australian." No surprise here: Hacktivist supporters of a radically free media probably won't see eye to eye with law-and-order types like Palin.
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