Wikileaks downed by “denial of service” attack

The Wikileaks website claims it was taken down by a denial of service attack, just hours before it was due to publish thousands of documents that would embarrass the US Government.

Wikileaks downed by

The whistle-blowing site was unavailable for much of Sunday, ahead of the release of secret State Department cables that are set to cause a diplomatic crisis for the US. Wikileaks’ Twitter feed reported “We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack,” at around 4:30pm GMT.

The statement will raise questions over whether the website came under a state-sponsored attack. The documents – which have also been released to news organisations around the world – are not only hugely embarrassing for the Americans, but several other Governments across the world.

The cables reportedly reveal, for example, that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah urged the US to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, as well as links between the Russian Government and organised crime.

It wouldn’t be the first time state Governments have been linked with cyber-attacks. Estonia accused the Russian Government of a massive denial of service attack in 2007, although a pro-Kremlin youth group later claimed responsibility for it.

Wikileaks was up and running again this morning, although the Wikileaks Cable Viewer is currently only showing 220 of more than 250,000 cables that the site has at its disposal.

The Guardian is making details of the cables – if not the text of the cables themselves – available via its Data Blog.

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