Wikileaks has only itself to blame for DoS attacks

Online whistle blowing site Wikileaks is supposed to be a cutting edge tech-outfit headed by a former hacker and yet for some reason the site is being hammered by Denial of Service attacks.

Last week we saw Wikileaks being continually shut down first by its service provider Amazon, allegedly because of a breach of terms of use, and then by its DNS provider EveryDNS.

On the face of it it looks like there is a big plot to push Wikileaks off the Internet and silence the outfit.

However the information that Wikileaks has threatened to provide is already out there. Any spooks wanting to silence the outfit would be shutting the door after the horse has bolted and sold its story about stable cruelty to the local media.  The DoS attacks have to be an amateur effort.

There will always be such  attacks against such any organisation like Wikileaks, but the question is why an organisation which is run by a former hacker did not factor such an attack into his business plan.

EveryDNS is a good large service, but it is free and not designed to be taken apart by world wide attackers.

Assange must have known that given a sustained attack, the outfit would have to pull the plug on his company’s free service. Sure enough EveryDNS says it had to pull the plug because it was putting user’s interests ahead of any others by keeping Wikileaks on board. There is just so much hacking a free DNS server can take.

There were all sorts of things that Assange could have done to prevent all the problems he faced. As a former cutting edge techie he must have thought of them.

With months to prepare for the publication of the leaked material he could have found a bulletproof DNS which could have withstand the attack.

After the attack against EveryDNS Assange failed to do anything that would have sorted the problem out.

EveryDNS gave him 24 hours notice that it was going to pull the plug. More than enough time to sort out a new rugged DNS outfit and get its act together. But for some reason Wikileaks opted to go off line instead.

Instead of tweeting the IP addresses of WikiLeaks hosts, which would allow visitors to continue to reach the site uninterrupted, it used the outage to encourage donations,the outfit  tweeted instead: “ domain killed by US after claimed mass attacks KEEP US STRONG”.

Later WikiLeaks promoted as an alternative address knowing that domain was resolved by EveryDNS and was also shut down.

As late as Friday WikiLeaks had the four regional domains working on Friday, resolving to hosts in Sweden and France. But the organisation still has EveryDNS set as its name server for its domains.

The point is that observers are forced to wonder is Wikileaks just incompetent, or is it trying to mess with users’ heads to raise cash?

It would not be the first time that Wikileaks has cocked up trying to sort out the small stuff. In June WikiLeaks’ secure submission page stopped working when the site failed to renew its SSL certificate.

Wikileaks promised leakers that they’d enjoy the protection of strong journalist shield laws in Sweden, where Wikileaks maintains some of its servers. However this August it turned out that Wikileaks hadn’t registered as a media outlet in Sweden. No one was protected.

When Assange visited Stockholm to fix the problem he was distracted by an ongoing sex-crime investigation which he dismissed as another CIA plot.

While forgetting to plan for the DNS attacks is forgiveable for an internet novice, it is less believable for a hacker called “Mendax” who took out Nortel and other organisations, via modem in the early 90s.

There are advantages in presenting itself in the media as an “outfit which is being picked on by the man”. The DoS attacks mean that you do not even have to provide the Wikileaks data any more, you can go on making half hearted attempts to get a message, which you have already published, out there. The more picked on you appear, the more cash you will get from those whose hats are made from tin foil.

Maybe instead of worrying about the man messing with your heads, you should beware of former hackers trying to manipulate the media.