WikiLeaks was targeted in a Web attack yesterday that left the site down for an extended period of time.
The organization announced on its Twitter account around 4:30 p.m. PT that its site was "presently under attack," adding that information from its pages could be accessed on other domains it owns. Over the course of the next three hours, WikiLeaks continued to provide updates, pointing people to its alternative sites as it worked on getting its home page back up. Finally, at the end of that stint, it was able to get its site back online.
"WikiLeaks.org back," the organization tweeted around 7:30 p.m. PT. "Nice try."
So far, there is no word on who or which group may have attacked WikiLeaks. However, the organization said on its Twitter account that it believes the attacks might be related to its recent release of U.S. diplomatic cables.
Those documents, which have been in the hands of some news outlets for months, initially started leaking last year in small portions. However, Reuters reported today, citing an anonymous source, that WikiLeaks became concerned little attention was being paid to the releases and that news outlets seemed to stop caring. The group then decided to offer up its entire collection on its site, starting last week.
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WikiLeaks has a history of being at the center of controversy. The group, led by Julian Assange, has released tens of thousands of documents and footage on everything from the wars in the Middle East to the treatment of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay prison. The group has also taken aim at major corporations, like Bank of America.
Those leaks have made Assange one of the clear enemies of governments around the world and a target of investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice launched a criminal probe into the leaks last year.
WikiLeaks has also been at the heart of the growth of "hacktivist" groups, like Anonymous. When financial organizations tried to block people from donating to WikiLeaks last year, Anonymous took aim at those organizations, including PayPal and a host of banks, to fight back. Since then, Anonymous has expanded its focus to other areas.
Exactly how WikiLeaks will respond to its latest attack remains to be seen. However, this morning, the group sent out a tweet saying that users should "prepare for an important announcement." There's currently no telling whether that announcement will be related to the attack.