AntiLeaks, led by a shadowy hacker calling himself DietPepsi, is circling the wagons to thwart arch-nemesis — Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. From August 3 through August 13, the WikiLeaks website was driven offline as a result of a massive denial of service attack that DietPepsi claims to have coordinated. WikiLeaks remained out of commission until a US-based content delivery network, CloudFlare, agreed to disseminate the website. Saving Wikileaks’ hide won’t sit well in certain quarters, but CloudFlare has been embroiled in controversy before, having previously provided similar services for the hacking group LulzSec, as well as for the Turkish government.
Julian Assange at New Media Days, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“We don’t discriminate against customers based on a political belief of what’s good or bad,” says CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince, out of San Francisco. “We try hard not to play censor.”
With CloudFlare’s support, WikiLeaks re-emerged from Internet oblivion, but the US-based DietPepsi wrote the Des Moines Register vowing this wouldn’t be the end of the story. “WikiLeaks web server is now hidden behind five CloudFlare servers. CloudFlare isn’t actually hosting WikiLeaks content itself but acts as a reverse web proxy. This makes it especially difficult to attack WikiLeaks, as each CloudFlare server can handle 10gb/second,” DietPepsi said in an email to the Register. “”I am in the process of finding the actual IP address of WikiLeaks web server. I have a couple of leads and believe I will be able to do it, however it will take some time.”
To emphasize AntiLeaks’ resolve, DietPepsi claimed, via Twitter, that the group had taken down two other websites — one belonging to RT, the Russian global TV network, which has carried extensive favorable coverage of Assange, and a second website belonging to Bambuser, a Stockholm, Sweden-based firm that provides livestream video services for individuals to broadcast directly over Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The specific target in the Bambuser outage is believed to have been a “citizen-journalist” feed by a James Albury, who has been broadcasting from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up since June, fighting extradition to Sweden.
Here’s some of the banter on Twitter today:
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks ally Anonymous issued one of its patented YouTube threats against AntiLeaks, promising, “We do not forgive. We do not forget. Aunty Leaks we request you dessist (sic) in your activity or you will Expect us.” Unbending, DietPepsi shot back on Twitter, “Semper fi. Expect us.” Earlier, he denied any connection with the US government, although WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson from Iceland has implied that such a linkage exists.
For visitors wanting more on this geeky battlefront, here’s an appearance by CloudFlare’s Prince, last fall on Bloomberg Television, explaining how his company has improved its web security services by building a better paradigm to thwart DDoS attacks, drawing upon its experience of deflecting the barrage stirred up against LulzSec.
And here is RT’s broadcast report about its website going down in the DDoS attack claimed by AntiLeaks.