After WikiLeaks released thousands of diplomatic cables, companies began distancing themselves from the controversial site. Banks and payment processors such as eBay's
In response, hacker group Anonymous, notorious for its war against scientology, has led a coordinated effort to shut down these organizations' websites using denial of service attacks. A denial of service attack is coordinated effort to crash a site by having millions of computers try to access it at the same time.
The attacks started on Monday, when Anonymous first went after Switzerland Post Finance, which said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had falsely claimed residence in Switzerland to obtain the account. The attacks continued yesterday with the targeting of the homepages of Visa
Now, in retribution for taking down WikiLeaks, Anonymous is expected to attack Amazon.com around 11 a.m. ET. As of this writing, the site is still performing well. Adding fuel to Anonymous' outrage is that Amazon.co.uk now has for sale on Kindle the very cables that caused the uproar in the first place.
While Visa.com and Mastercard.com are not vital to their respective company's business operations, Amazon.com is absolutely vital to Amazon. If Anonymous is able to take down Amazon, it will only have a small effect on the business but would call into question Amazon's cloud capabilities, which competitors could play on going forward. Also, competitors such as Rackspace
Also, with the major impeding force stopping cloud computing from taking the next step, today's actions could put additional focus on the risks that companies face by hosting their software through large cloud providers like Amazon. If selective hosting practices become common and organizations booted off servers are able to retaliate successfully, that could cause unacceptable downtime for critical systems hosted by cloud providers.
While potentially not very damaging in the long run, Anonymous' actions call attention to the ridiculousness of companies taking punitive action against a media organization for publishing controversial material. On a personal note, I'm glad someone is standing up for freedom of the press. As an investor, events like this only hurt the case for moving to the cloud.
For more on WikiLeaks, check out " 10 Things I Wish WikiLeaks Would Release ."
Dan Dzombak is the Internet & Technology Editor for the Motley Fool. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. His musings and articles he finds interesting can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak.
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