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Amazon drops WikiLeaks - senator

01 December 2010, 22:58

Washington - US online retail giant Amazon has stopped using its servers to host the WikiLeaks website, which was sluggish on Wednesday and inaccessible in some regions, a US senator said.

"This morning Amazon informed my staff that it has ceased to host the WikiLeaks website," Joe Lieberman, an independent senator from Connecticut, said in a statement.

"I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on WikiLeaks' previous publication of classified material," Lieberman, the chairperson of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, said.

"The company's decision to cut off WikiLeaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material," he said.

WikiLeaks on Sunday began publishing the first batch of more than 250 000 US diplomatic cables the whistleblower website is believed to have obtained from a disaffected US soldier.

Amazon is a major provider of web-hosting services, renting out space on its computer servers to customers around the world. It has not responded to repeated requests from AFP for confirmation that it was hosting WikiLeaks.

But Jon Karlung, chair of the Swedish firm Bahnhof, which also hosts some WikiLeaks documents, said on Tuesday that the WikiLeaks website featuring the US diplomatic cables was being primarily hosted by the Seattle-based Amazon.

Lieberman urged any other company hosting WikiLeaks to "immediately terminate its relationship with them".

"WikiLeaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world," Lieberman said.

"No responsible company - whether American or foreign - should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials," he said.

Stolen classified information

"I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with WikiLeaks and what it and other web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information, Lieberman added.

The global police agency Interpol said on Wednesday it had issued a global wanted notice for WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape, on the basis of a Swedish arrest warrant.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian believed to be in hiding in Europe, has denied the charges.

WikiLeaks' Twitter feed, @WikiLeaks, was silent on Wednesday after announcing in previous days that its website had come under distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks.

Classic DDoS attacks occur when legions of "zombie" computers, normally machines infected with viruses, are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming servers or knocking them offline completely.

On Monday, a computer hacker known as the "Jester" claimed responsibility for temporarily taking down the WikiLeaks website on Sunday.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at computer security firm F-Secure, told AFP he believed the "Jester" who has targeted Islamic jihadist websites in the past, had the ability to carry out the attack on WikiLeaks.

"He's demonstrated previously that he is capable of launching effective denial-of-service attacks, and he's claimed the responsibility for this one as well," Hypponen said. "He has the capability and the motive."



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