Feeds

US judge arranges summary execution of Wikileaks.org

Many-headed whistleblower site still standing

Security for virtualized datacentres

The US arm of Wikileaks, a website that makes it easy for whistleblowers to leak documents, has been cut off after hosting evidence that claimed a bank located in the Cayman Islands engaged in money laundering and tax evasion.

Dynadot, the US-based company that hosted Wikileaks' main site, not only severed wikileaks.org from the net; it also agreed to lock the domain name so it can't be transferred to another provider. A federal judge in San Francisco signed off on the agreement on Friday (15 Feb).

The agreement came in a lawsuit brought by bank Julius Baer, the parent company of the accused Cayman bank. After trying unsuccessfully to get Wikileaks to remove the documents, Swiss-based Julius Baer went after Dynadot, which according to this copy of the court order, agreed to roll over in exchange for the suit against it being dismissed. Dynadot also agreed to turn over records related to Wikileaks, including "IP addresses and associated data used by any person, other than Dynadot, who accessed the account for the domain name".

Wikileaks allows whistleblowers to post documents anonymously - at least when its webhost isn't coerced into turning over IP addresses and other information most customers would consider confidential.

According to this piece from Wired News, Wikileaks was unable to argue its position on the matter at a Friday court hearing because it only learned of the hearing a few hours before it started. Astonishingly, US District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California signed off on the stipulation, anyway.

The episode is another reminder that an organization's security is only as good as the security of the people who provide its internet connection. Wikileaks claims that it is an "uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis". But this is true only if its webhosts can be trusted not to pull the plug on its customers or divulge sensitive client information.

In this case Julius Baer quickly realized it couldn't silence Wikileaks, so it went after a weaker link in the chain, which evidently was much less willing to put up a fight.

Wikileaks was founded in 2006 by people from a host of countries, including the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. It has generated headlines by hosting documents exposing several high-profile scandals, including those related to the collapse of the UK's Northern Rock bank and to prisons in Iraq and and Guantanamo Bay. The site says it has posted more than 1.2 million documents.

According to Julius Baer, a former vice president called Rudolf Elmer posted the documents, which purport to show that the Cayman Islands bank helped customers hide assets and launder funds.

The contested documents remain available on Wikileaks websites hosted in other countries, including in here in Belgium and here in India. The site says here that over the past few days it has also withstood a 500 Mbps denial-of-service attack and a fire to its uninterruptible power supply.

Of course, there's no evidence that Julius Baer was behind either the attacks or the fire. But it's clear that Wikileaks hasn't been silenced, at least for now.

Hey, maybe there really is something to these claims about being uncensorable. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.