Cyber Attack Threats Force Amazon UK Offline

Dennis Faas's picture

Amazon Web Services (AWS) earlier this month pulled the plug on the WikiLeaks web site, forcing the latter to find a new web hosting company. WikiLeaks is amid controversy after the site began releasing a mammoth collection of confidential U.S. State Department diplomatic cables.

According to Computerworld, "WikiLeaks is now hosted by a Swedish firm, Bahnhof Internet AB, which is headquartered in Uppsala, a city approximately 44 miles north of Stockholm." (Source:

In response, activists calling themselves "Anonymous" who support the WikiLeaks cause have encouraged the use of cyber attacks to shut down online retail giant It appears these attacks -- or the threat of an attack -- prompted the shutting down of several European versions of Amazon.

30-Minute Outage for European Amazon Servers was unaffected by the outage, which left,, and out of service for about thirty minutes. It's not yet known what caused the outage, but experts are suggesting it may have been the result of a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. (Source:

Others suggest the outage may have been caused by problems with an Irish data centre that feeds the four European Amazons with information. Amazon has not yet commented on the issue.

MasterCard, Visa Face Outages in Support of WikiLeaks

Amazon sites aren't the first affected by the Anonymous campaign in support of WikiLeaks. Anonymous was also responsible for similar outages at credit card companies MasterCard and Visa, due in large part to attacks prompted by those firms' recent decision to cease processing donations made to WikiLeaks.

Perhaps convinced that enough damage has been done, Anonymous recently stated that it would change the nature of its campaign from sabotage to spreading the WikiLeaks message. It plans to begin distributing small parcels of leaked American diplomatic cables over the coming days.

Gawker Media Websites Hacked

The Amazon and MasterCard / Visa attacks were joined this past weekend by a similar outrage over at social media site Gawker. The company, which has referred to the issue as a "brute force" attack, says an encrypted database of 1.5 million login and password details has been breached. (Source:

Gawker has regained control of their servers, but are advising readers to change their passwords.

"The real threat, however, is for those readers who use the same password at Gawker that they do for other online services, since the hackers and others are at work breaking the outdated encryption Gawker used to store the passwords. Quite a few have already been broken." (Source:

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