Updated MasterCard's website became difficult to reach on Tuesday following the launch of an apparent denial of service attack.
Twitter user @ibomhacktivist claimed responsibility for the reported assault, which it said had been motivated by Mastercard's decision to suspend an account maintained by WikiLeaks in the wake of the whistle-blowing site's decision to start releasing leaked US diplomatic cables last November. Or something like that.
"MasterCard.com DOWN!!!, thats what you get when you mess with @wikileaks @Anon_Central and the enter community of lulz loving individuals :D," @ibomhacktivist tweeted.
The assault follows a decision by anarchic hacking crew LulzSec to disband last week following a seven-week hacking spree. The six-member LulzSec crew has reportedly rejoined Anonymous, the much longer established group from which LulzSec had apparently originally splintered.
The whole hacktivist scene has become a bit of a soap opera of late with numerous groups getting involved. On the one side we have Anonymous, LulzSec (deceased), Tony Blair webmail server hackers TeaMp0isoN and now ibomhacktivist. On the other there's ex-military hacker Th3J35ter and other patriot hackers who disapprove of WikiLeaks's actions. Added to this are various copycat hackers and others anxious to pile into the action.
And, not forgetting that denial of service attacks and most of the other assaults happening between most of the warring groups are illegal, the police are getting into the act and arresting various participants in the bun fight. It's a safe bet that intelligence agencies are also far from disinterested observers in all this.
It's a mess akin to nothing so much as the custard pie fight in the original war room ending of Doctor Strangelove, or perhaps an episode of Jackass, and it looks set to continue at least until the end of summer, if not beyond. ®
Mastercard issued a statement on Tuesday saying it had a problems with its ISP, a set of circumstances that might as easily be explained as the result of been swamped by a flood of junk traffic as some other technical reason. The apparently carefully-worded statement, issued to various media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, fails to deny the reported DDoS attack.
One thing the statement is clear on is that cardholder data wasn't at risk. Nobody was rely suggesting this but it's nice to know, anyway.