Amazon kicks out WikiLeaks

December 2, 2010 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Dec 2 – Amazon, under US pressure for hosting WikiLeaks, booted it from its computer servers on Wednesday, prompting the whistleblower website to shift to Web-hosting services in Europe.

"It is unfortunate that it took Amazon five months to terminate its relationships with WikiLeaks, and only after having political pressure applied," said Peter King, a Republican congressman from New York.

"While I wish that Amazon had taken this step when US soldiers\’ lives were first put in danger by WikiLeaks back in July, I am heartened that the company has finally corrected its action," King said in a statement.

"This situation should serve as an example for all private US and international companies that conducting business with WikiLeaks is intolerable and against American interests," he said.

WikiLeaks, in messages on its Twitter feed @wikileaks, confirmed it had been "ousted" from Amazon\’s servers and needled the online retail giant for failing to support First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.

"Free speech the land of the free – fine our dollars are now spent to employ people in Europe," WikiLeaks said. "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the First Amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."

WikiLeaks on Sunday began publishing the first batch of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables the website is believed to have obtained from a disaffected US soldier.
The WikiLeaks website was sluggish and periodically unavailable on Wednesday but it was not immediately clear if this was due to its hosting issues or if it had again come under cyberattack as in previous days.

Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he planned to discuss the hosting of WikiLeaks with the Seattle-based Amazon.

"I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with WikiLeaks and what it and other Web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information," the independent senator from Connecticut said.

Amazon is a major provider of Web-hosting services, renting out space on its computer servers to customers around the world. It has not responded to repeated requests from AFP for confirmation that it was hosting WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks said Sunday and again on Monday that it was the target of distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks aimed at shutting down or slowing the website.
Classic DDoS attacks occur when legions of "zombie" computers, normally machines infected with viruses, are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming servers or knocking them offline completely.

On Monday, a computer hacker known as the "Jester" claimed responsibility for temporarily taking down the WikiLeaks website on Sunday.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at computer security firm F-Secure, told AFP he believed the "Jester," who has targeted Islamic jihadist websites in the past, had the ability to carry out the attack on WikiLeaks.

"He\’s demonstrated previously that he is capable of launching effective denial-of-service attacks, and he\’s claimed the responsibility for this one as well," Hypponen said. "He has the capability and the motive."


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