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WikiLeaks attacked as hacker battle plays out on Twitter
WikiLeaks’ brief downtime yesterday was just collateral damage in a larger fight between two hackers.
WikiLeaks, the media organization that gives a publishing platform to whistleblowers around the world, was attacked, apparently by DDOS, last night and forced offline for several hours. The details of the attack almost make you miss The Good Old Days, before hacker drama had a transcript. The Jester versus WikiLeaks. The Jester versus Smedley Manning. The Jester IS Smedley Manning? Wait, what?
We do know who the Jester is, or at least who he says he is: the self-described “patriot hacker” is a former military man from Fort Bragg and current hacker-at-large of significant talent and reach, who has claimed responsibility for taking WikiLeaks down via DDOS attack in 2010.
He and Anonymous spend hours every week sparring on Twitter, as the hacktivist collective’s lefty leanings and anarchistic tendencies irritate the right-wing macho man. Smedley Manning, known on Twitter as @cubespherical, is, or says he is, a WikiLeaks supporter who wants to take the Jester down a peg. Others think they’re both the same person, and this is all just part of a plan to take money away from WikiLeaks supporters.
All we really know for sure is that someone, somewhere, took WikiLeaks offline for several hours last night, and the Jester is claiming it was him. Why? Well, as with everything in the world of hackers, that’s a little complicated.
Photo by Abode of Chaos
Lorraine Murphy is an Ottawa-based cybersecurity journalist and founding editor of the Cryptosphere. She has a keen interest in WikiLeaks and web culture, and her bylines have appeared in Salon, Vanity Fair, Serious Eats, and elsewhere.