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MasterCard Shut Down by WikiLeaks Supporters after Julian Assange Arrest

Hackers have shut down several websites, which they identify as "enemies" of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks—even bragging about it on Twitter.

A day after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on rape and sexual assault charges that his supporters call politically motivated, several of his "enemies" have been shut down online. The "denial of service" attacks are allegedly the work of hacker supporters of the whistle-blowing site.

All this morning, Mastercard.com has been in and out of service, though the company says payment processing has not been affected. PayPal was also attacked, in addition to the Swiss bank that froze Assange's account.


Earlier this week MasterCard, along with Visa and PayPal, refused to process payments or donations to WikiLeaks. Combined with the bank account freeze, this essentially shut down the funding stream for WikiLeaks. The organization resorted to wire transfers and checks mailed to a P.O. Box. The credit companies cited terms of service violations as the reason for severing ties with WikiLeaks, though they did so only after requests from the United States government.

The Associated Press is also reporting that Swedish prosecutors and the Swedish lawyers, whose clients have accused Assange of rape and sexual assault, were also attacked online with similar denial of service campaigns that bombard a website with so much traffic to render it unusable.

The Washington Post reports the hacking was coordinated through 4chan, an online message board used in the past to arrange online attacks and sabotage. This campaign has been dubbed Operation Payback and has been tweeting the progress throughout the morning. Check out those hastags:

Group That Took Down Swiss Bank Site Has Now Taken Down Mastercard.com http://read.bi/hEmt4g #ddos #payback #wikileaks #imgayforwikileaks

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and ...

WE ARE GLAD TO TELL YOU THAT http://www.mastercard.com/ is DOWN AND IT'S CONFIRMED! #ddos #wikileaks Operation:Payback(is a bitch!) #PAYBACK

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The Telegraph points out that there is still an online start-up accepting money on behalf of Assange's organization:

Peter Sunde, the founder of start-up Flattr.com, who previously ran music downloads site The Pirate Bay, also pointed out on Twitter that Flattr can still be used to donate to Wikileaks. The site, which operates like a tips box for websites, is not featured on WIkiLeaks’s pages officially, but Mr Sunde has created a link users can follow to donate money.

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Image: Posted by to Twitter by Operation Payback after the attacks on MasterCard

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