WikiLeaks' site back with Swiss name after cyber attacks
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks came back online with a Swiss name on Friday around six hours after its wikileaks.org domain name was shut down because it was suffering massive cyber attacks.
"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://126.96.36.199/ -- which gives them access to the former site, including a massive trove of leaked US diplomatic traffic.
A separate search via the whois.net tool indicated that the wikileaks.ch site name is owned by the Swiss Pirates Party, which campaigns for data privacy and Internet freedoms. It was not immediately available to comment.
WikiLeaks has come under repeated cyber attacks since it began on Sunday publishing more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables, many of them "secret", that the website is thought to have obtained from a disaffected US soldier.
The cyber attacks have come on top of broadsides from governments around the world after diplomats were left red-faced by the often unflattering revelations in the massive leak of US State Department cables.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has described the leak as "an attack on the world" and on Thursday expressed her regret to Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari over their content.
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 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 technological 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."
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 possibility," 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 TSR television that Wikileaks was examining the possibility of creating a foundation that would allow it to operate out of Switzerland, and confirmed that he might apply for asylum.
The 39-year-old Australian is believed to be currently in Britain, and British police have been informed of his whereabouts as he is subject to an arrest warrant over rape allegations in Sweden, his lawyer said Thursday.
A WikiLeaks spokesman has said that Assange had to remain out of the public eye because he had faced assassination threats.
Swedish police said they would issue a new international warrant for Assange on suspicion of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" to replace one that could not be applied because of a procedural error.
The announcement came after Sweden's supreme court refused to hear an appeal by Assange against the warrant which relates to events in Sweden in August. Assange denies the charges.
© 2010 AFP