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Sweden set for Assange- inspired hacker attacks

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Sweden set for Assange- inspired hacker attacks
09:59 CEST+02:00
Swedish police are on high alert for possible hacker attacks ahead of Wednesday's ruling on an appeal by WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange to avoid extradition to Sweden.

"We are paying special attention to critical systems today," Anders Ahlqvist, head of the IT-crimes with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to the TT news agency.

Previously, events which have riled up net-activists and hackers have unleashed cyber attacks against governments and agencies in several countries.

Ahlqvist said that police "are following intelligence flows", both from their own sources and by cooperating with agencies abroad.

"This sort of crime is international in nature and as a result it's interesting to follow what's happening in other countries," he said.

Assange is something of a cult hero for net-activists, many of whom champion the cause of the 40-year-old Australian and the aims of the whistleblowing website he created.

Back in December 2010, the website of the Swedish Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten), the body which issued the warrant for Assange's arrest in order to question him in an ongoing rape investigation, was brought down by a suspected hacker attack.

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.

He has since been fighting a protracted legal battle while under virtual house arrest in the UK in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning by prosecutors.

A lower court in Britain initially approved Assange's extradition to Sweden in February 2011.

An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but Assange subsequently won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which heard two days of complex arguments in February.

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