Finnish internet operators unintentionally block WikiLeaks' supporters website
Anonymous activists launch internet attacks to back WikiLeaks
At the weekend, Finnish internet operators unintentionally participated in a cyberwar arising out of the plight of the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.
Some operators temporarily blocked access to the site of the group Anonymous, the website of pro-Wikileaks activists.
Anonymous has oganised denial-of-service attacks to the websites of credit card companies. These attacks have been said to be a punishment to companies that have blocked all donations to WikiLeaks, the online site that has recently been releasing sensitive and often embarrassing US diplomatic messages.
The DoS attacks flood the target’s servers, often disabling them or shutting them down. Tens of thousands of computers are involved in the attacks.
Last weekend, for example, the subscribers of the Finnish internet operators Sonera and Welho were unable to access the anonops.eu site that is administered by the WikiLeaks supporters’ group.
This was due to outside internet service providers who had added the site to their revocation lists.
”As soon as we heard that our clients had been blocked we removed the inhibition. We do not wish to filter that kind of links. We do not have any interest of our own in matters like this. We just carry traffic”, says Vesa Vuoti, who is responsible for security at DNA, another Finnish internet operator who also sells Welho subscriptions.
According to Antti Kiuru, a data security specialist at the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), the pages of Anonymous are not illegal per se.
”The purpose of such revocation lists is to reject other types of data security threats. In fact, the site of Anonymous does not belong to such lists”, states Kiuru, who works at CERT-FI, the Finnish national Computer Emergency Response Team working at FICORA.
Anonymous is an unorganised group of hackers without any leaders or ideology. Their activities are activated in online chat rooms, where the members use pseudonyms.
After the WikiLeaks furore, tens of thousands of internet users have downloaded a programme which allows them to participate in cyber-attacks.
According to Kiuru, the estimated number of Finnish computers participating in the attacks could be in the dozens. Participating in such attacks is illegal in Finland.
Anonymous has also been given a taste of its own medicine.
On Sunday, the website of pro-WikiLeak activists was displaying a message that the regular content of the site could not be shown, as the site had been a target for denial-of-service attacks - plus an exhortation to attack against the credit card company Mastercard.
Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA)