Cyber attack forces Wikileaks to change web address

13:14, 03 December 2010
World
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Whistle-blowing website...

Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has been forced to change its web address after the company providing its domain name cut off service, according to BBC.

EveryDNS.net said it had terminated services because Wikileaks.org had come under massive cyber attacks.

But Wikileaks has already reappeared using a Swiss web address.

Wikileaks has also used micro-blogging site Twitter to urge its fans to redistribute its "raw" net address so it can be viewed at any time.

This numerical internet protocol (IP) address remains live and accessible even when web domains - the normal "www" addresses used to access most sites - are unavailable.

Experts say it is likely that Wikileaks has done deals with lots of web hosting companies, although many are likely to back away from dealing with the controversial site in the light of recent web attacks.

There is also a published list of mirror sites, which Wikileaks hopes will provide constant access to the site.

Downtime

In a post on Twitter, Wikileaks acknowledged that its domain had been "killed" by EveryDNS.net.

It was not clear how long disruption to the wikileaks.org site would last.

In a statement on its website, EveryDNS.net said it had issued a 24-hour termination notice to Wikileaks which ended at 0300 GMT on 2 December.

It said the domain wikileaks.org had become the target of "multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks".

"These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites," it said.

"Any downtime of the wikileaks.org website has resulted from its failure to use another hosted DNS service provider," it added.

Websites use web hosting firms such as EveryDNS.net to translate their raw IP addresses to a more memorable web address such as Wikileaks.org.

But the IP address of a website will also direct users to the site.

One web expert explained that Wikileaks had managed to re-establish web access via a different address.

"Users visiting the www.wikileaks.ch website appear to be directed via a Swedish website on to a server in France which is now hosting their main website," explained Sebastien Lahtinen, director of web hosting firm NetConnex.

Hosting a web address in multiple locations at the same time is complicated, but there are specialists - such as DNS hosting providers and Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) - who stream major sporting events for high-profile sites.

"Wikileaks appears to be making its website available on multiple domain names/web addresses instead at present," said Mr Lahtinen.

The Wikileaks situation is challenging the balance between free speech, commercial and technical pressures and the laws in different jurisdictions around the world.

Wikileaks says its website has been under attack since it began publishing more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

The memos, which discuss US diplomatic relations and military activities, have been causing controversy across the world.

It turned to the online store Amazon to host its site but the company ended the agreement on Wednesday - a move welcomed by US officials.

Amazon said that it had not removed Wikileaks because of a government inquiry.

Instead it said that Wikileaks had failed to adhere to its terms of service.

"It`s clear that Wikileaks doesn`t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that Wikileaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren`t putting innocent people in jeopardy," it said in a statement.

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