The Wikileaks Website labored under a massive denial of service attack Tuesday, 48 hours after the site published its first installment of a massive trove of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
Both Wikileaks.org and cablegate.wikileaks.org, the subdomain created to host the leaked U.S. embassy cables were both reachable Tuesday afternoon. However, Internet monitoring firms confirm that the site has been the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks since posting the documents on Sunday.
The first attack, delivering 2-4 Gigabits of traffic per second, began on Sunday, November 28th, knocking the site offline for several hours on Sunday, according to the firm Netcraft. Those attacks continued on Tuesday, causing intermittent interruptions in availability for the site, Netcraft said.
Around 9:30 AM on Tuesday, a note posted on Wikileaks Twitter feed announced that the latest attack has exceeded 10 Gbps. UK-based Internet security firm Netcraft reported that the site went down temporarily Tuesday but has since returned to service.
Threatpost reported Monday that Wikileaks managed to skirt the DDoS attack by serving up its Website from a revolving list of three different servers and by moving from the France-based Octopuce to the more robust Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
The source of the attacks is unknown. A hacker-activist calling himself ‘The Jester’ (Twitter handle @th3j35t3r) has claimed responsibility for the first attack, explaining that the DDoS was retribution for Wikileaks “attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, other assets, and foreign relations.”
Arbor Networks noted in a blog post that their profile of the attack is consistent with the Jester’s claim to have used application layer attacks to create a denial of service with lower levels of traffic. However, individuals and governments with an interest in snuffing out Wikileaks are legion, and there has been no independent verification of The Jester’s claims.
In other news, Reuters reports that the South American Republic of Ecuador has offered Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a safe haven to lecture and teach. Assange’s whereabouts are unknown. Assange has faced harsh criticism from the U.S. and its allies for releasing the diplomatic cables, most of which date to the post 9-11 era, and which have complicated the U.S.’s relationships with its allies. The source of the documents is unknown, however a former Army Intelligence officer, Bradley Manning, is under arrest for the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence, part of which is believed to be the 250,000 diplomatic cables that were leaked to Assange and Wikileaks.