2010/12/03

WikiLeaks' site back with new address after six hours

PARIS, December  3, 2010 (AFP) - The whistleblower website WikiLeaks was back on line Friday with a new Swiss address -- wikileaks.ch -- six hours after its previous domain name -- wikileaks.org -- was shut down.

"WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland," the group declared on Twitter, although an Internet trace of the new domain name suggested that the site itself is still hosted in Sweden and in France.

Webusers accessing the wikileaks.ch address are directed to a page under the URL http://213.251.145.96/ -- which gives them access to the former site, including a massive trove of leaked US diplomatic traffic.

The original wikileaks.org domain was taken offline at 0300 GMT Friday by its American domain name system provider, EveryDNS.net, following reports of massive cyber attacks on the site.

"The interference at issue arises from the fact that wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks," EveryDNS.net said in a statement.

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.

The latest techological setback for the whistleblower site came after Amazon booted it from its computer servers on Wednesday following pressure from US politicians, prompting the site to move to a French server.

"Free speech the land of the free -- fine, our dollars are now spent to employ people in Europe," WikiLeaks said. "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the First Amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."

On Sunday, WikiLeaks began publishing the first batch of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables, many of them classified as "secret", that the website is believed to have obtained from a disaffected US soldier.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said last month that he was considering requesting asylum in Switzerland and basing the whistleblowing website in the fiercely neutral Alpine country.

"That is a real possiblity," Assange said when asked whether he and the website might relocate, adding that Switzerland, and perhaps Iceland, were the only Western countries that his outfit feels safe in.

Assange told the TSR television that Wikileaks was examining the possibility of creating a foundation that would allow it operate out of Switzerland, and confirmed he might apply for asylum.