Taking sides in the cyber-war over WikiLeaks

Well, the hacker community has stepped into the fray over whistleblower leak site, WikiLeaks.

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find that they’re coming in on the side of the secret-revealing whistleblowers.

The shadowy hacker activist group 4chan stepped in and, through a concerted denial-of-service attack, forced WikiLeak’s former financial institution, Swiss Bank PostFinance, off the web and temporarily out of business.

4chan also attacked and partially crippled PayPal and other institutions which had begun denying their own services to WikiLeaks — under a furious assault both in the legal world and, apparently, from rather inept government cyber-ops.

4chan accused the institutions of bowing to coercive US pressure but the institutions themselves said they were acting on their own — apparently desperate to be seen as being firmly on the side of censorship and heavy-handed government repression.

Read more in Ars Technica:

4chan rushes to WikiLeaks’ defense, forces Swiss banking site offline

This little tidbit from the Ars Technica article ought to give pro-censorship, repressive governance fans serious pause, however:

In spite of this, hundreds of mirrors of the site have popped up across the globe, with Anonymous claiming to have created many of them. An “insurance file”—an encrypted torrent of the entire cable dump—has been widely distributed, along with the promise that the decryption key will be published should anything bad happen to WikiLeaks.

Keep in mind, that’s the entire cable dump. WikiLeaks had, they claimed, taken great pains to be responsible about revealing secrets that might put various government intelligence assets at risk by redacting large portions of the cable dump before they posted it.

It seems all too likely that a release of the encryption key to the distributed copies would ultimately result in a complete revelation of everything.

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