Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Operation Payback

This article by Shreya Roy Chowdhury, was featured on today's Times of India.

An interesting side was that the same page carried two advertisements. On the left was one by PayPal, which refuses contributions for Wikileaks. But, next to it on the right with identical format and design there was another labelling itself as an alternative to PayPal. Hey! Business is business, huh?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's supporters are putting the 'B' back in 'backlash'. As news of his arrest hit websites and networking sites, a cyberwar was declared.

They're calling it Operation Payback. A group of activist hackers (hactivists) went to work on PostFinance, the Swiss Bank that froze donations made to the whistleblower site, and brought it down for some time. Next, they promised to target PayPal, the online payment company that cancelled WikiLeaks account; Anon_Operation posted on Twitter, target: is YOYOing.

Other posts lead supporters to a file mysteriously titled insurance.aes256. Apparently, insurance.aes256 contains all the secret files released by WikiLeaks, the cables and then some. But this 1.39GB file is encrypted. Assange's lawyer has hinted that the key will be made available if anything happens to Assange. Blackmail? Perhaps. But it has worked. Thousands have downloaded the file and are generously seeding making it available for others to download while waiting for the key to be disclosed.

The absence of anything related to WikiLeaks from Twitter's top trends list for a long time has drawn suspicion and flak. "Twitter tells me Julie Andrews is trending in Australia. The hills are alive with the sound of lying," said one tweet. Tweets are also being used to give fire commands to hackers to synchronize attacks; links to blog posts that explain how to easily and legally help WikiLeaks (over 10,000 page views in less than 24 hours boasts the blogger) are provided.

Julian Assange is number one on the list of contenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year with an average rating on 90% based on over 24,000 votes; any news report on him is followed by a string of comments.

Ed: The Torrent for downloading the insurance.aes256 file is easily found on the web. There is no shortage of torrent seeders and the 1.38 Gb file can be download in a couple hours with broadband internet access.

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