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Spam downloads surge among WikiLeaks supporters

 A banner with an image of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that reads in Spanish: "We are all  Julian Assange," is seen during a press conference in ...
 A woman hands out posters as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' ex...
 A man holds up a sign as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' exten...
 A man carries a placard as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' exte...
 A protestor wears tape over his mouth as supporters of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange gather in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' e...
 Protestors hold up images of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, before a demonstration in Brisbane, Australia, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks has b...
 An unidentified protestor holds a banner before hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiL...
 Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...
 An unidentified protestor tapes a slogan to a wall before hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detentio...
 Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...
 A cyclist rushes out of the way of hundreds of protestors marching through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks found...
 Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...
 Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold a banner,  wearing the masks featuring  the American National flags during a protest at Consulate...
 A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wearing the mask featuring  the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the U...
 Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wear the masks featuring  the American National flags during a protest at Consulate General of the Uni...
 A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wears the mask featuring the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the Unit...
 A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wears the mask featuring the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the Unit...

Mexico Wikileaks

A banner with an image of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that reads in Spanish: "We are all Julian Assange," is seen during a press conference in ...

Australia WikiLeaks

A woman hands out posters as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' ex...

Australia WikiLeaks

A man holds up a sign as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' exten...

Australia WikiLeaks

A man carries a placard as protesters gather in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' exte...

Australia WikiLeaks

A protestor wears tape over his mouth as supporters of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange gather in Sydney, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks' e...

Australia WikiLeaks

Protestors hold up images of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, before a demonstration in Brisbane, Australia, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. WikiLeaks has b...

Australia WikiLeaks

An unidentified protestor holds a banner before hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiL...

Australia WikiLeaks

Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...

Australia WikiLeaks

An unidentified protestor tapes a slogan to a wall before hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detentio...

Australia WikiLeaks

Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...

Australia WikiLeaks

A cyclist rushes out of the way of hundreds of protestors marching through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks found...

Australia WikiLeaks

Hundreds of protestors march through Brisbane's city center to protest against the detention of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in Brisbane, Austr...

Hong Kong WikiLeaks

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold a banner, wearing the masks featuring the American National flags during a protest at Consulate...

Hong Kong WikiLeaks

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wearing the mask featuring the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the U...

Hong Kong WikiLeaks

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wear the masks featuring the American National flags during a protest at Consulate General of the Uni...

Hong Kong WikiLeaks

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wears the mask featuring the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the Unit...

Hong Kong WikiLeaks

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wears the mask featuring the American National flag during a protest at Consulate General of the Unit...

Wikileaks supporters on Friday downloaded increasing amounts of the spam-shooting software used to attack companies seen as hostile _ a development that could challenge even Internet giants such as PayPal and Amazon.com during the crucial Christmas shopping season.
U.S. data security company Imperva says downloads of the attack program used to bombard websites with bogus requests for data have jumped to over 40,000, with thousands of new downloads reported overnight.
"It's definitely increasing," Imperva Web researcher Tal Be'ery said in a telephone interview from Israel.
The freely available software, dubbed "Low Orbit Ion Cannon," is a critical part of the campaign by "hacktivists" seeking to take revenge on sites they believe have betrayed WikiLeaks, which has outraged American officials by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables and military intelligence reports.
Users who download the software essentially volunteer their computers to be used as weapons that volley streams of electronic spam at targeted websites. The more computers, the greater the flow of data requests, and the better chances are of overwhelming the targeted website.
The cyberguerillas, who gather under the name Anonymous, have had mixed results so far. Attacks directed at the main pages of Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. succeeded in making them inaccessible, in MasterCard's case for several hours. Attacks on online payment company PayPal Inc. have periodically rendered a small part of its website inoperative.
But other planned attacks, on London-based Moneybookers.com or Amazon.com, have either fizzled or been called off.
All five sites have severed their links to WikiLeaks over the past weeks and months, many citing suspected "terms of use" violations. The moves angered WikiLeaks supporters and alarmed free speech advocates, many of whom claim that the companies are caving in to U.S. pressure to muzzle the controversial website.
WikiLeaks has been careful to distance itself from Anonymous, saying "we neither condemn nor applaud these attacks."
A press release circulated under the Anonymous name Friday said the group _ which it refers to as an "Internet gathering" _ was acting out of a desire "to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks' ability to function."
Imperva said Friday that it had monitored Anonymous supporters boasting about bringing in huge numbers of extra computers to back the attacks _ something it said might challenge Amazon.com at one of the retailer's busiest times of the year.
But Be'ery stressed the boasts were unconfirmed, and the Anonymous statement said its members did not want to alienate the public by causing online havoc over the holidays.
"Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste," the press release said.
Dutch police said Friday they were investigating whether hackers were responsible for taking down the websites of police and prosecutors in the Netherlands after the arrest of a 16-year-old suspected cybercriminal.
Dutch media reported that Anonymous tried to take down the two police sites in an apparent revenge attack. Both sites were only sporadically reachable Friday morning.
In Australia, WikiLeaks supporters held rallies in Brisbane and Sydney on Friday. In Sydney, more than 500 people gathered outside Town Hall, some waving signs that read, "Hands off WikiLeaks, We deserve the truth," and "Don't shoot the messenger."
One man sealed his mouth shut with tape on which the words "NO LEAKS" had been written.
The U.S. Department of Justice, meanwhile is considering whether to charge those behind the leaks under the espionage act or other laws, while U.S. diplomats, deeply embarrassed by WikiLeaks' disclosures, have struggled to contain the fallout.
"The deplorable Wikileaks disclosures put innocent lives at risk, and damage U.S. national security interests," U.S. Ambassador to London Louis Susman wrote in an editorial Friday in The Guardian newspaper.
"There is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends," he added.
The U.S. may soon be facing more than WikiLeaks as an opponent.
A former WikiLeaks spokesman plans to launch a rival website Monday called Openleaks that will help anonymous sources deliver sensitive material to public attention. Daniel Domscheit-Berg made the claim in a documentary by Swedish broadcaster SVT airing Sunday but obtained in advance by the AP.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remained in jail ahead of a Dec. 14 hearing where he plans to fight extradition to Sweden to face sex crimes allegations.
___
Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Michael Corder in The Hague and Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-16 10:59 GMT+08:00