WikiLeaks was left scrambling to keep its website alive after an American domain provider pulled the plug late Thursday forcing the whistleblowing website to create a new Swiss web address just six hours after Wikileaks.org was shutdown.
Web-users accessing the Wikileaks.ch address are directed to a page under the URL http://188.8.131.52/ — which gives them access to the former site, including a massive trove of leaked U.S. diplomatic traffic unveiled Sunday.
The original wikileaks.org domain was taken offline late Thursday night by EveryDNS.net–WikiLeaks’ domain provider–following reports of massive cyberattacks on the site. EveryDNS said it took the action because the new hacker attacks threatened the rest of its network of 500,000 websites. “Wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service attacks. These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure,” EveryDNS said in a statement. Mark Stephens, the London-based lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speculated that outside pressure had forced EveryDNS to pull the plug on WikiLeaks. “Pressure appears to have been applied to close the WikiLeaks domain name,” he wrote on the micro-blogging website.
It’s not known where the cyber attacks are coming from, however, WikiLeaks claimed that intelligence agencies from the U.S. and elsewhere have been targeting its site. The reason? It’s spilled thousands of embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables as well as classified U.S. military documents that has angered the U.S. and other governments.
The Swiss hosted site, wikileaks.ch, only comes a month after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that he was considering requesting asylum in Switzerland and basing the site in the famously neutral country. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been out of public sight for nearly a month.
Sweden has issued an Europe-wide arrest warrant for him over allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, but the exact nature of the allegations are still unclear. An American defense official has also indicated that U.S. government lawyers are investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for spying. He is also risking legal action in his homeland, where Australia’s Attorney General Robert McClelland has said Australia would detain Assange if possible in response to the warrant filed in the Swedish case by Interpol. (via AP)