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Cyberattacks Hit Oz Outfits As Wikileaks Fans Protest

Australian media banks airline and retail sites were heavily impacted at the weekend by cyberattacks apparently launched by WikiLeaks supporters.

This appears to have followed the launch of three attacks – also possibly launched by Wikileaks supporters to protestainst leader Julian Assange having his access to the Internet cut.

The attacks were aimed at US-based company Dynamic Network Services or Dyn which provides Internet traffic management and optimisation services to major Web sites luding those of Twitter Netflix and Visa.

But the attacks had a heavy knock-on effect apparently taking out a huge range of online services.

According to digital performance monitoring outfit Dynatrace Australian sites affected luded those of AAMI ANZ BankWest Coles Daily Telegraph Dan Murphy’s eBay HBSC Herald Sun NAB 9News Thee Ticketmaster The Australian Woolworths Sydney Morning Herald and Westpac.

Wikileaks yesterday asked its supporters to desist. “We ask supporters to stop taking – the US Internet. You proved your point” WikiLeaks said in a tweet.

While Ecuador’s London embassy – which has been providing shelter to Assange – has indeed cut his Internet connection the embassy at the weekend stressed this was temporary and would last only for the US presidential election period. (Ecuador apparently doesn’t want to be seen as a conduit for a barrage of WikiLeaks material expected to show +as the US poll looms.)

The hackers behind the outage used what’s known as a Mirai-based botnet which clogged traffic to Dyn’s servers with malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses. US authorities are investigating whether the attack was carried out by criminals or a nation state.

The hackers are believed to have targeted vulnerabilities in thousands of Internet cameras baby monitors and home routers to carry out the denial of service attacks.

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