STOCKHOLM: WikiLeaks' American domain-name system-provider withdrew service to the wikileaks.org name after the secret-spilling website once again became the target of hacker attacks.
EveryDNS said in a statement that it dropped the website because the attacks threatened the rest of its network. WikiLeaks responded by moving to a Swiss domain name, wikileaks.ch.
EveryDNS said in a statement that "Wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service attacks. These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure." EveryDNS provides access to some 500,000 websites.
In a tweet on Friday, the owner of EveryDNS, Dynamic Network Services Inc, wrote that "trust is paramount: Our users and customers are our most important asset." It did not specify whether it was referring to WikiLeaks, however.WikiLeaks confirmed the move in a separate tweet, saying "WikiLeaks.org domain killed by US everydns.net after claimed mass attacks." It was not clear where the alleged attacks were coming from.
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks' Swedish server host, Bahnhof, confirmed that the website had been hit by a cyberattack just before it leaked thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.
In addition to the latest batch of sensitive documents, WikiLeaks has angered the United States and other governments by publishing almost half a million secret documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is not clear how WikiLeaks obtained the diplomatic documents, but the US Government's prime suspect is an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in custody on charges of leaking other classified documents to WikiLeaks.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com Inc - which had provided WikiLeaks with the use of its servers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents - evicted it. The site remains on the servers of its Swedish provider.
The ouster from Amazon came after congressional staff questioned the company about its relationship with WikiLeaks. Sen Joe Lieberman praised Amazon's action and said it should "set the standard" for companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute "illegally seized material."
In its decision to terminate the service, EveryDNS cited what it called a violation of the provision stating that a member should "not interfere with another member's use and enjoyment of the service."
Andre Rickardsson, an expert on filesharing and information technology security at Sweden's Bitsec Consulting, said domain name providers normally don't drop their clients unless the clients themselves have breached their user contract.
"WikiLeaks is not behind the disturbance here, but individuals trying to disturb WikiLeaks' operations," he said.
Rickardsson said he had never experienced a user being shut off under similar circumstances. "I don't believe for a second that this has been done by EveryDNS themselves. I think they've been under pressure," he said referring to US authorities.
Mark Stephens, the London-based lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's, also speculated that outside pressure had forced EveryDNS to pull the plug on WikiLeaks.
"Pressure appears to have been applied to close the WikiLeaks domain name," he wrote on the micro-blogging website.
Australian Assange, 39, has been out of public sight for nearly a month. Sweden has issued an Europe-wide arrest warrant for him over allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, but the exact nature of the allegations are still unclear.
Assange's Swedish and British lawyers claim their client has attempted to assist in the questioning but that his offers have so far been turned down. According to his lawyers, he has also yet to receive formal notice of the allegations.
An American defense official has also indicated that US Government lawyers are investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for spying. He is also risks legal action in his homeland, where Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland has said t6hat Australia would detain Assange if possible in response to the warrant filed in the Swedish case by Interpol.
Assange has spoken publicly only through online interviews. - AP