As the nine-day DDoS hammering of WikiLeaks continues, hacking group AntiLeaks, has said that attacks will continue and widen, but have nothing to do with the Trapwire monitoring system the whistle-blowing site has been documenting.
In an email conversation with The Register, someone claiming to be the head of the AntiLeaks hacking group – aka DietPepsi – said the attacks were in protest over the role of Julian Assange, who is currently the guest of the Ecuadorian embassy while waiting for his plea for political asylum to be decided.
"What prompted us to form Antileaks is the impending decision by Ecuador to presumably give Julian [Assange] asylum, which should happen within days after the Olympics are over," DietPepsi said.
In June Assange made a bail-busting visit to the Ecuadorian embassy in London and requested political asylum. The move came shortly after his last appeal against deportation to Sweden to face questions over accusations of sexual molestation was rejected by the UK's Supreme Court. The Ecuadorian government is still considering the issue.
There have been reports that the attacks are an attempt to halt the latest information dump from WikiLeaks of emails from hacked security consultants Stratfor. The latest batch focus on a little-known state monitoring system dubbed Trapwire.
The system is a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. Developed by ex-CIA employees by government security contractor Abraxis, Trapwire uses software algorithms and data from multiple surveillance sources, including facial recognition, to help predict criminal activity.
Details from the Stratfor emails show its use is far more widespread than previously thought, with all an executive saying every high-value target in UK, US and Canada was now covered, as well as the cities of London, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
"I want to make it clear to all the conspiracy theorists out there that we have nothing to do with the United States Government or Trapwire," DietPepsi wrote, when questioned on the matter. "We find it quite humorous to read all these Twitter comments from people who suspect us of being NSA/CIA/FBI/or even WikiLeaks themself," and posted a similar statement online the following day.
On the face of it this seems fair. The DDoS attacks on WikiLeaks began on August 3, but WikiLeaks didn’t start publishing emails relating to Trapwire until after that date. As late as August 7 WikiLeaks itself didn’t seem to rate the idea very highly.
Speculation on DDoS attack against WikiLeaks timing: 1. Olympics cover 2. Upcomng release. 3. Ongoing Syria, Stratfor releases— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 8, 2012
WikiLeaks and Assange are not the only subjects of AntiLeaks' ire it seems. On August 3 DietPepsi said the group took down the Ecuadorian president's website in a similar DDoS attack and claims the site's admins have tripled the number of hosting servers required to keep it online, "Though it wouldn't make a difference should we choose to target them again."
As proof of the group's veracity, DietPepsi said the Ecuadorian attack had been flagged up in advance to German tech site Gulli.com. El Reg has asked for more verification, since there's a world of difference between bringing down a minor government site and the sort of massive attacks WikiLeaks and its affiliate sites are undergoing.
In the meantime the attacks will continue, DietPepsi said, and the access to WikiLeaks, Cablegate and mirror is patchy at best. As for threats of retribution from Anonymous, DietPepsi said the group is "not concerned at all." ®