“Hacktivists” vow to ramp up WikiLeaks protests

Mastercard and Visa have become the latest brands to suffer online attacks from hackers that have accused them of blocking services to whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

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A group of “hacktivists” known as Anonymous orchestrated the attacks, which caused disruption to some Mastercard services yesterday (8 December), one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The payment services company insisted that there had been no impact on customers’ ability to use their cards.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today Show, Anonymous member “Coldblood” warned that the “Operation Payback” campaign is not over. He adds that “more and more” people are downloading a tool that facilitates the online attacks.

Visa and eBay’s PayPal, which have also pulled services from WikiLeaks, have also been targets in recent days.

A spokesman for WikiLeaks said yesterday that companies seeking to cut off the site are “causing an outrage among the general public that actually might hurt their own business”. WikiLeaks has denied any involvement in the hacking.

The document leaking site has caused global controversy in recent weeks after making public 250,000 confidential political documents.

Amazon came under fire from protesters last week after it stopped hosting WikiLeaks on its servers.

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