As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits in a London jail, and the financial network that supports his whistleblower website continues to crumble, hackers are reportedly retaliating against some WikiLeaks detractors by launching denial of service attacks on those companies’ websites.
Visa and Mastercard both announced this week that they will bar any payments or donations to WikiLeaks on its network, according to press reports. PayPal blocked donations to WikiLeaks on Friday. Meanwhile, Swiss bank PostFinance closed Assange’s bank account on Monday due to “false indications regarding his place of residence.”
Websites for Mastercard and PostFinance were inaccessible today after denial of service attacks. Visa, PayPal and other companies that cut ties with WikiLeaks are reportedly looking to bolster their website security, The Telegraph reports.
With such major players cutting off its access to funds, the financial pressure on WikiLeaks appears to be mounting. The site still can accept donations through Datacell, a Swiss credit card company, and through bank transfers to accounts in Germany and Iceland, though the decision by Visa and MasterCard to block transfers may make it difficult for those channels to remain open.
The Telegraph also reports that Flattr.com has set up a donations link for the site.
Wikileaks rose to prominence in recent years by publishing tens of thousands thousands of internal U.S. military documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pressure on the site, and on Assange, has increased this month, when WikiLeaks posted a quarter of a million diplomatic cables between the U.S. State Department and embassies abroad discussing American relationships with foreign governments and its efforts to fight terrorist groups.
Assange was charged in Sweden on allegations that he molested two women there in August. He was arrested in England on those charges, and is waiting to hear whether he will be extradited to Sweden to face trial. Seeing him as a flight risk, a British court denied Assange bail on Tuesday.
Image: Graphic Tribe, via Wikimedia Commons