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Hackers disable Swedish prosecutor's website

AFP/The Local · 8 Dec 2010, 08:52

Published: 08 Dec 2010 06:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Dec 2010 08:52 GMT+01:00

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"Our website was overloaded on Tuesday night and our hosting company then decided to shut it down. We don't know the cause of the overload, but are now looking into it," Karin Rosander, a spokesperson for the Swedish Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) told the TT news agency.

She added that she had not yet received confirmation that the site outage was caused by a hacker attack.

PandaLabs, the malware detection laboratory for computer security firm Panda Security, said the prosecutor's website, aklagare.se, was brought down by members of the loose "cyber hacktivist" group called "Anonymous."

The attack on the Swedish prosecutor's website came as Assange, whose release of secret US diplomatic cables has sparked an international furor, was refused bail by a British judge over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

As of 6.30am Wednesday morning, the prosecutor's website remained inaccessible, but by 8.30am it was up and running again.

Sean-Paul Correll, a threat researcher at PandaLabs, said Anonymous had dubbed the attacks on the websites of the Swedish prosecutor's office, PayPal and the Swiss Post Office bank as "Operation Avenge Assange."

He said they were part of a battle being waged online between supporters and opponents of WikiLeaks, whose website has come under repeated cyber attack itself and has seen US companies gradually withdrawing their support.

"We have two sides of this attack spectrum," the PandaLabs researcher told AFP in a telephone interview.

"We have the Anonymous guys on one side fighting for freedom of information and freedom of press," Correll said.

"And we have other people who consider themselves patriots who are trying to defend the greater interests of the United States."

Asked if he believed there was US government involvement behind the cyber attacks on the WikiLeaks website, Correll said "it's tough to say."

"It would just be speculation because no one has come forward to say that there is some type of involvement," he said.

He noted that an early attack on the WikiLeaks website had been claimed by a known hacker who calls himself the "Jester."

"The Jester doesn't necessarily have to be one person," he said.

"It could be a group of people, of patriots."

WikiLeaks has been under cyber attack since Assange began releasing the first US documents last week, forcing it to repeatedly change addresses and Web hosts.

Amazon dropped WikiLeaks from its servers last week and PayPal blocked financial transfers to the site while the Swiss Post Office bank on Monday closed accounts held by Assange, the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder.

PayPal's official blog, ThePayPalBlog.com, came under distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack on Saturday and was down for at least eight hours, PandaLab's Correll said.

He said that as of 6:00 pm (2300 GMT) on Tuesday, the Swiss Post Office bank site had been down for more than 20 hours.

"Someone actually posted on Twitter and asked the attackers to stop their attacks so they can conduct their banking," Carroll said.

In a classic DDoS attack, a "botnet" of zombie computers, machines infected with viruses, are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming its servers, slowing service or knocking it offline completely.

Correll said the Swedish prosecutor's website was attacked by over 500 computers at the direction of Anonymous. "It literally went down the second they announced the target," he said.

The PandaLabs researcher said Anonymous included anti-copyright activists who took part in "Operation Payback," which began in September and involved cyber attacks on the websites of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Story continues below…

"This past weekend they decided they were going to fight against anybody anti-WikiLeaks," said Correll, adding that he has been following Anonymous "from Day One."

"Anonymous doesn't have a central authority, there's no hierarchical structure," he said.

"People describe it as having a kind of hive mind mentality."

"They use social networks to recruit members and chat infrastructure," he said, adding that "right now there's over 1,000 people in their chat room participating in their attacks."

"These guys are very resourceful," Correll said, adding that he expects their retaliatory activities to go beyond just DDoS attacks.

"I expect a laundry list of targets," he said. "They'll research security vulnerabilities on a website. They've defaced websites in the past so I expect to see all sorts of things coming in the future."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:53 December 8, 2010 by Mad Mac
Wikileaks controversy? What controversy? It seems to me that the only debate is between supporters of the US Empire and the patriots - patriots of many nations - who resist it.
09:17 December 8, 2010 by RogueSwede
I love this. Just goes to prove that two can play at this !
09:23 December 8, 2010 by UScitizen
I'm an American. I haven't always been proud of everything my government has done and I haven't stood behind my leaders 'no matter what'. And that's the greatest thing about America... you CAN speak out when you think something is wrong. A lot of you Swedes (and others) like to bash big bad America. Why? Guilt, plain and simple. Guilt passed down from your fathers and their fathers before them.

You see, as imperfect as we are in America, we stand up for what's right. Yeah, sometimes we're like an old drunk who just wants to fight, and sometimes we don't choose our battles wisely, but when the chips are down, we stand up for what's right. We didn't have to come over here and help save Europe in two major wars... but we did, at the cost of many American lives, because it was the right thing to do.

Your guilt? It comes from Sweden doing NOTHING during WWII besides saving herself and becoming Germany's puppet. Now you're trying to forget that guilt by taking your shame out on the USA, acting like you want to save the world from that big bad monster. It's just a little too late. You should have stood up 70 years ago. The only thing I have left to say is: The truth hurts, don't it?
09:44 December 8, 2010 by Tennessee Thunder
@UScitizen,,couldn't have been said better...
09:57 December 8, 2010 by ringorm
Sheeple protecting their prophet rapist.
10:20 December 8, 2010 by Yuretz
Dear U Scitizen,

I'm from Russia. And I would like to ask you:

Please don't speak about WWII and US participation on it.

All of Americans aid during the WWII was linked solely to make money! It is historical fact!

What would Americans do, they do it just for the sake of self-interest and money.

Nowadays Where the Americans had come - there is always a disruption, war and tears of people.
10:21 December 8, 2010 by BrittInSweden
@USCitizen Actually you came to Europe during WWII after being attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbour and declaring war on Japan for the attack which in turn had Germany and the other members of the Tripartite Pact declaring war on the US.

Did the US play a big part in WW2? Of course they did but they didn't win it and they didn't do it because they felt they should help out Europe, they did it because they were attacked.
11:07 December 8, 2010 by bulletts67
@UScitizen, I'm also an American and I think you're misinformed. We did not get involved in WWII out of some altruistic notion of saving Europe, but out of necessity. We were attacked. And before you take all the credit for winning WWII you might want to talk to the British and the Russians about it. That war (in Europe) was nearly half over before Pearl Harbor. But yes, it was the right thing to do. Was invading Iraq the right thing to do? The problem is that the US once led the world by example, but lately we just bully and push other countries around militarily because we can. That's why others might look at us as the big bad monster...because we act like it sometimes. Being the big dog on the block comes with certain responsibilities, and we haven't always acted responsibly. The last time Sweden was at war, the British were burning Washington. No wars in over 200 years. I'd say that rather than feeling guilty, that's something to be proud of. I'm really proud of what we did in WWII, especially afterward, in the way we helped them rebuild. But sometimes rather than waving the flag we need to step back, admit we're not perfect, and with a little humility ask ourselves just what the hell are we doing?!
11:12 December 8, 2010 by BYDAND
@ us citizen.Thank you very much for having helpt us in two WW wars,just try coming alittle bit earlier the next time,like your neighbours the Canadians did, when we really needed help.
11:19 December 8, 2010 by Prat
Is the comment by "UScitizen" an apology or call to arms?

The claim "we stand up for what's right" is often counter to US Government policy. Many of us remember the Vietnam War, some were part of antiwar resistance. But the aftermath and cleanup were a sorry affair. The USA for many decades has actively encroached on people & nations around the world, often in support of US corporate interests to the detriment of local people. Excesses are often courageously reported and discussed within the USA, but things are seldom made right.
11:28 December 8, 2010 by Kevin Harris

Good job. You are one of the very few Americans who know that WW2 did not begin on 7 December 1941 and had actually been raging since 1939. A great deal of hard fighting, and massive losses had been incurred by the European participants by December 1941. By then, the Russians had lost several entire armies, and the Germans were days away from losing another one (and the war) at Stalingrad). By the time America became fully engaged in the fighting (1943/44) the European nations were well into their fourth year of a very hot war, and were very very tired.

It was pretty much the same story in WW1 too.

Everybody is very grateful all the same that you turned up just in time for both finales.
11:30 December 8, 2010 by Uriel9
It feels like Sweden gets more bashing because it's actions in WW2 than germany does, which is very funny.

And i have always heard people from many different countries tell me how small and insignificant Sweden is, well it's true!

And it was true during WW2 also! Sweden did the right thing in WW2 because entering the war would definately destroy the country, because as you say, were so insignificant and small :)

And yes i am proud of not being in any war for a very long time, what if all countries were like sweden. We'd have world peace.

Thanks, bye.
11:32 December 8, 2010 by marianne667
to bullets67, very, very well said. I applaud you!!

to uscitizen you are the type of American we all dislike so much.
11:32 December 8, 2010 by PoJo

I totally agree, finally a realistic comment!
11:48 December 8, 2010 by know
US attempts to falsify history and play always as victims
11:51 December 8, 2010 by Yuretz

I totally agree with you, no more to add...

The world is full of good people and it's nice!
12:02 December 8, 2010 by Jan M
Just one question. Is he guilty of rape or sexual assault? If he's innocent he just needs to show up.
12:09 December 8, 2010 by eppie

I think you don't really appricicate the freedom we have in western europe. It is much greater than the one you have in the US. Only we don't brag about it all the time.

Go and stand on a square in an average american city and yell that you are a socialist.....then come back here and tell us if there was freedom of speech.

Yes you have freedom to buy guns, yes you have freedom to make a lot of money (and your government will help you with this) and you have freedom to choose from 20 kinds of cola......but is that real freedom?

You can't drink a beer on the street, you can't smoke pot, you can go on strike (oh yes you can...but you have to walk in circles and are not allowed to talk to people passing by), you can't smoke cuban cigars etc.
12:18 December 8, 2010 by Texrusso
Julian Assange is a MATYRE & a HERO!!! His Name and Wikileaks will Live on and History will absolve him.
12:55 December 8, 2010 by xenyasai
@UScitizen: It's filth like this that makes people bash USA. This kind of self-glory that you are the most perfect country in the world. If you are so free and perfect, why is your economy still so bad after the recession? Why are some cities turning into ghost towns? Why do you have people dying at the ER when waiting for help, or even denied if they can't pay up? Free country? Not so much.

All we have to do now is to read those revealing cables and see how free your country is.

What about that nice scandal a few years back when it was uncovered that AT&T had a nice little secret room for the NSA to listen in on your guys. Free country? Doubtful.

And like so many have pointed out, which is historically accurate, you only entered WW2 when you were attacked by the Japanese. If they hadn't attacked you, you would just sit idly by and see the Germans do what they please, if it gains US. Just look at The Marshall Plan, free guilt trip to make the countries to accepted it to do your bidding.

A country where you can be fired, without reason, the same day is not a free country.
13:51 December 8, 2010 by zircon
Read Mr Assange's article on the Australian online last night. -There use to be a place for the truth once. Instead of becoming monumental in democracy, each day more this becomes the grain of sand we soon will lose as well... -
14:27 December 8, 2010 by eZee.se
JA's op-in at The Australian :


And calling Anonymous a hacker group is like calling Paris Hilton a perfect lady,

Anonymous are a pack of people who got together on 4chan and are made up of mostly kids who like comics and funny images (same site that got you pictures of funny cats (lolcats)). The most "hacking" any of these people have done is to download a problem (like LOIC) and run it.

One of the worst groups to mess with as they are so immature... it just goes to show how battered our laws and governments are when they are now looked at as the righting force in comparasion.
15:23 December 8, 2010 by Syftfel
It is intresting to see these radical commies, some typically with masked faces, demonstrating and destroying. Why can't these people use democratic means to express their opinion. The Left always destroys, hacks, and spews socialist venom. Never do they demonstrate peacefully or observe generally accepted decorum and decency.
15:39 December 8, 2010 by Roy E
Assange is a little more than a self-important anarchist clown. People that admire such clowns are even bigger fools.

That said, arresting him on the charges they did is absurd. But at the same, time, I feel no sympathy for the grief he has foolishly decided to bring down upon himself.

The Theater of the Absurd never closes.
11:26 December 9, 2010 by Enzooo
I agree with mad mac

somehow, and over time, the US has really turned into a country that doesn't respect the world and other countries.

the term 'US Empire' , as mad mac has stated, is precisely what no american wants to look at or even hear about. all because as soon as anyone thinks for themselves and even remotely begins to question the status quo, instantly they are labelled 'unpatriotic' or perceived as 'unamerican'. that's scary but it's true.

The US Govt attempts to rule the world by the classic old cliche' " My Way Or The Highway " and anyone who disagrees, or gets in the way, better be careful.
13:56 December 9, 2010 by actuary
I am not sure that most people necessarily admire Assange. However, they do think that he has done everybody a service with all these leaked documents. Indeed, the media in particular should be thankful for they greedily publish the juiciest leaks. As for the "rapist' nonsense: it is too ridiculous for words and I am sure that the Swedish authorities wish that they had never started the process. However, they probably realise that it is now too late to back away, even though they cannot relish the unwelcome light that has been shone on some very peculiar Swedish laws indeed.
16:50 December 9, 2010 by eslaporte
@UScitizen - I am an absolute supporter of wikileaks and Assange and will join the fight for him and Wikileaks!

I too am an American citizen - and I have a post graduate education in national security with a European concentration. I was taught by former and current members of the US intelligence and security community. I was also instilled with the notion that as an American, especially working for the US government in foreign service - I would be God's gift to the earth and better than Europeans.

I'm actually quite happy that the Swedish prosecutors' servers were hacked! Assange is being railroaded and will be found guilty. This case also came up back last August, but the charges were dropped - and this also corresponded with the visit tour and of a Swedish general, which included a stop at the Pentagon. This "rape case" as all the trappings of being a set-up and various events correspond with these "rape charges."

I have also downloaded the Wikileaks files - and with my educational background - I intend to engage in my own analysis of these documents. I have known for years about the American hegemony over Europe.

The US is not God gift to the world and this rubbish that Europeans need to pay forever for "the US saving Europe" in almost a single-handed sense is wrong on a couple of historical points (the Red Army and European resistance) and the idea that Europe does not own the US anything.

What the hell is Sweden going to get out of this cooperation with the US other than a tarnished reputation?
19:18 December 9, 2010 by Clarabow
I'm afraid some Americans view their own history through the media of films and believe the ideal rather than the reality. Sadly it did take Pearl Harbour to drag them into War; before then it was Europe's problem and although they provided support to the Allies it made America richer - support had a price. The real losers - Russia who lost 20 million of its people; the Jews of Europe; my country standing alone against Hitler (Battle of Britain) ended up on the winning side and broke! But the truth is that without America's involvement in the War the outcome may well have been different, and yes we needed them. But Vietnam, South America, Iraq have brought desolation and in the West we call it freedom. Civilisation cannot be imposed through war. Never has and never will be. And if you bomb a country it won't be enlightenment that crawls out from under a rock, it will be a Pol Pot, or a thousand little Saddam's that have replaced the big one.
19:45 December 9, 2010 by planet.sweden

"Civilisation cannot be imposed through war. Never has and never will be."

You're forgetting...

The Phyle Campaign and the overthrow of the Thirty Tyrants 403 BC

Virginia 1865

Italy 1943

Germany 1945

Japan 1945

South Korea 1953

Cambodia - Pol Pot 1979

Uganda - Idi Amin 1979

Romania - Nicolae Ceausescu 1989

To name but a few.
03:43 December 10, 2010 by actuary
Nobody is bowing down to Assange, but acknowledging his contribution is far preferable to bowing down before American hegemony. Many people have the vague notion that "America is a force for good in the world", thereby ignoring the arrogance of the American administration. There are others who seem to come dangerously close to "my country right or wrong" : even though that country is the U.S and most of you are not Americans.
10:32 December 10, 2010 by Smiltte
@UScitizen, want to know more about US hard work to make a Better World? Just do not drop it at the begining...

10:56 December 10, 2010 by mkwrk2
Probably, it is a real heaven on the Earth, this law-obedient Kingdom of Sweden, if a hole in a condom triggered a worldwide hunt for a user.

And what is about manufacturers of so unreliable produce?

Michael Kerjman
16:14 December 10, 2010 by Clarabow
planet.sweden - my list was necessarily subjective as we were talking about recent history and American involvement in places like Iraq. My point was to suggest that war is actually the opposit of civilisation - and although one might argue that civilisation has been imposed here or there, there are so many civilisations destroyed and lost (if you want to go that far back) by the invaders! My criticism of America is related to their (especially the CIA) involvement in undermining, over-throwing legitimate governments (President Allende for example) and for one reason - American interests albeit C.Cola or oil. But to take one on your list - Pol Pot - but for American illegal bombing of Cambodia, undermining the legitimate internal government of that country - completely dis-stabilising it, allowed Pol Pot to crawl out from under a rock. Ironically it took Vietnam (the country America bombed the life out of) to drive him and his criminal gang back under their rock. There have been just wars - WW2 was just in my view, because civilisation was about to be lost. But we didn't start it, and if only Germans would have thought about civilisation 48 million people would have been saved. Anyway, this is getting far away from the subject matter in hand!
17:45 December 10, 2010 by Hoath
I wonder what will cause the release of the key to the insurance file.

If you don't know what I mean, google - wikileaks insurance file
01:57 December 11, 2010 by Toonie
That WW2 stuff still presses buttons, eh? It's like standing on the football terraces listening to abusive chanting.

Back to Assange. It's perfectly possible that the charges against him have nothing to do with Wikileaks, but everything to do with a dysfunctional relationship between the law and its enforcement. 90% of rape cases never reach court, yet we know that certain cases involving little hard evidence but lots of celebrity, grandstanding and hefty lawyers' fees go all the way, thereby bringing Sweden's legal system into disrepute. Well, it would if the rest of the world could read Swedish or had a reason to cast a spotlight on the occasionally selective way Swedish laws are applied. Fortunately not too many people know about the general clauses that allow legislators and the executive to interpret laws in pretty much any way they fancy. Oops - there's now a reason for the world to take a good look. Something worth looking forward to. You'll all be better for it.

Still I can't help getting involved in the war stuff.

@ Uriel "And it was true during WW2 also! Sweden did the right thing in WW2 because entering the war would definately destroy the country, because as you say, were so insignificant and small :)

And yes i am proud of not being in any war for a very long time, what if all countries were like sweden. We'd have world peace."

Would we? In the years running up to WW2 Sweden increased its volume of iron ore exports nine times, most of it going to Germany. Churchill had to threaten to bomb Swedish ships in north German harbours 5 days before the war was over before Sweden stopped supporting the Nazi war machine. Being so smug about Sweden's 'good sense' may stem from ignorance, but it doesn't win too many friends. It just self-deluding. Sweden did very well out of the war and only avoided closer investigation thanks to the onset of the Cold War and the realities of geopolitics. Just be thankful. Lots of the rest of us lost family members so that you could gloat.
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