The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that took down Wikileaks as the site published secret U.S. embassy cables over the weekend could be the work of a single hacker, working for his own agenda.
The hacker, called the Jester (or th3j35t3r), describes himself as a “hacktivist for good” and posts the message “TANGO DOWN” after a successful attack, together with a link of the sites he takes down. The focus of his attacks, the Jester claims in his Twitter Bio, is “obstructing the lines of communication for terrorists, sympathizers, fixers, facilitators, oppressive regimes and other general bad guys.”
Recently, a couple of messages pointing to Wikileaks have appeared on Jester’s Twitter account. The most recent of them read “http://www.wikileaks.org – TANGO DOWN – for attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, ‘other assets’ & foreign relations #wikileaks #fail.”
The Jester’s intentions are explained in detail on his blog, in a post dating from September. In the post, the Jester describes the flaws of Wikileaks’ “insurance policy,” which consisted of making available an encrypted file, supposedly containing the secret documents that were leaked afterward. The file is useless without a decryption key, which would be provided by Wikileaks in case someone takes the site down.
The Jester hints of having obtained some sensitive information about Wikileaks itself, but said he decided not to upload it on Wikileaks as he doesn’t believe the information would see the light of day. He then provides an encrypted file of his own, claiming the information is contained within — again, as “insurance.”
While it is entirely possible for one experienced and resourceful hacker to take down a site — even a fairly large one — by a DDoS attack on his own, it’s not easy to prove whether the Jester is really behind the attack and, if he is, whether he was working on his own or if he had help. We’re sure the story will only give more fuel to the various rumors that are flying around Wikileaks being taken down.
What do you think? Is the most recent attack on Wikileaks the deed of a single person, or is a larger, more powerful organization behind it?