The cyber war between WikiLeaks supporters and companies refusing to do business with the whistle-blowing site have intensified, with fresh attacks threatened against Amazon and PayPal.
Anonymous, a loose-knit group of internet activists, has already disrupted the websites of companies including MasterCard and Visa by bombarding them with millions of bogus visits.
But the activist group’s “Operation Payback” has also been hit, with Facebook and Twitter deleting their accounts.
Facebook said it deleted the Operation Payback account because it was promoting a “distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attack.
Meanwhile, a WikiLeaks spokesman denied any connection with the “hacktivists” but described the attacks as a “reflection of public opinion”.
In the real world, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who is on remand in London after being arrested and refused bail over sexual offence charges he is facing in Sweden, met his team of lawyers at Wandsworth prison on Thursday afternoon.
His solicitor Mark Stephens said Assange does not have access to a computer or the internet and is concerned that “people have unjustly accused WikiLeaks of inspiring cyber attacks”.
On Thursday afternoon, a message on the Op_Payback Twitter account prompted fears of an attack on Amazon, reading: “TARGET: WWW.AMAZON.COM LOCKED ON!!!”
But subsequent posts appeared to show the target was in fact PayPal, with messages reading: “Everyone’s attacking www.paypal.com.”
A statement on the WikiLeaks website read: “These denial of service attacks are believed to have originated from an internet gathering known as Anonymous. This group is not affiliated with WikiLeaks. There has been no contact between any WikiLeaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous. WikiLeaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous’ actions.”