WikiLeaks supporters tear down Visa in DDoS attack

AnonymousAnonymous has claimed its next victim. The latest site to fall to Anonymous was Visa, which succumbed to denial of service attacks today. The site has been intermittently available following the launch of the attack in the late afternoon. These nonstop digital assaults, known as “Operation Avenge Assange,” or “Operation Payback,” should have some of Wikileaks’ other detractors nervous.

Anonymous, a group of hackers, have taken it upon themselves to take down all websites of companies that denied WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, support. MasterCard was hit by a denial of service attack this morning, and is still inaccessible on some browsers (although it now appears to be working on Firefox).

Visa and MasterCard both suspended payments to WikiLeaks recently, and earned the wrath of the hacktivists. Visa reportedly told The New York Times today that its site was “experiencing heavier than normal traffic,” but failed to explain further.

The Anonymous Twitter account has been updating followers on its progress, but its account is now suspended. Twitter and Facebook both claim to not be taking down WikiLeaks’ pages this morning, but apparently the hackers themselves are fair game. Both social networking sites still feature the government whistleblower’s accounts.

Mashable posted a recap of all sites that have been affected since the group began its attack yesterday:

  • Mastercard’s website
  • Senator Joe Lieberman’s website (which only sustained a 12 minute outage); he also received faulty faxes from the group
  • Sarah Palin’s website
  • PostFinance, a Swiss postal service bank, was taken offline and also sent spam via fax
  • The website of the lawyer representing the women accusing Assange of rape and assault
  • The laywer prosecuting Assange’s website

Anonymous has vowed to also hit PayPal, and Amazon could be a potential target as well. Whoever is next, Anonymous isn’t giving up anytime soon, telling NYT, “We fight for the same reason. We want transparency and we counter censorship.”