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WikiLeaks returns with new address after US provider pulls web services

Just days after being forced to change hosts, the wikileaks.org domain is pulled – forcing the site to take a new Swiss address.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must now find a new DNS provider for his site, days after finding a new host - all while being one of Interpol's most wanted people.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must now find a new DNS provider for his site, days after finding a new host - all while being one of Interpol's most wanted people.
Image: MARTIAL TREZZINI/AP

THE WIKILEAKS WEBSITE has been forced to change its web address this morning after the company operating the wikileaks.org domain name on its behalf pulled its services.

EveryDNS – a company which manages ‘domain name services’ (DNS) free of charge to any customer, including WikiLeaks, decided overnight to withdraw its services – meaning that any traffic destined for the wikileaks.org website simply has nowhere to go.

As a result, the central WikiLeaks site – and its dedicated subsidiary sites for the ‘Cablegate’ documents being leaked from US embassies, as well as those for the Afghan and Iraqi war diaries released earlier in the autumn – was totally inaccessible for several hours, until it took out a new web address in Switzerland, located at www.wikileaks.ch.

EveryDNS, in a statement on its website, said it had withdrawn its service as of 3am Irish time, because the continued ‘DDoS’ targeted overloading attacks directed at WikiLeaks were posing a danger to the company’s entire network, and putting the websites of its 500,000 other customers at risk.

The site’s particular susceptibility to such attacks – where hackers deliberately try to overload a server by bombarding it with ‘fake’ requests to load a page – had breached EveryDNS’s terms of service, it added.

The company said it had given WikiLeaks 24 hours’ notice of its decision, and claimed that the site’s subsequent downtime was due to its failure to find an alternative provider.

The new domain is registered by the Swiss Pirate Party, and appears to route its traffic through servers housed in Sweden where the piracy movement is strongest.

DDoS

A DNS provider intercepts traffic sent to a web address and sends it in the appropriate direction – essentially translating the alphanumeric web address, such as ‘google.com’, into a numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address which is unique to each site.

The site was earlier this week forced to change its host (i.e. the site which physically stores its documents) after Amazon, its previous host, bowed to political pressure to withdraw its service.

The release of the Cablegate documents remains ongoing, however, through the site’s five media partners – the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais and Le Monde.

Site founder Julian Assange, meanwhile, now faces arrest after authorities in Sweden issued a new arrest warrant against him over allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion when he visited the country in August – coincidentally, to investigate the possibility of housing the WikiLeaks site in the country, which has strict laws protecting press freedom.

The Guardian reports a rumour that the original arrest papers in respect of the incident were incomplete in that they only listed the maximum penalty for one of the various charges facing Assange.

Assange denies the claims, saying his intercourse with the women was entirely with consent. Earlier this week Assange was added to the Interpol ‘red notice’ list, which alerts member police forces to remain on alert for his whereabouts.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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