Amazon pulls the plug on Wikileaks servers

Summary:Amazon has terminated its cloud services relationship with the whistleblower site after pressure from a US government committee, according to a US senator

Amazon Web Services has ended its hosting of whistleblower site Wikileaks, according to a US senator.

Independent Democrat senator Joe Lieberman said on Wednesday that Amazon had terminated its business arrangement with Wikileaks, which has published the contents of thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables, after US Homeland Security committee staff contacted the Seattle-based cloud services and retail company.

"Amazon informed my staff that it has ceased to host the Wikileaks website," Lieberman said in a statement. "I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on Wikileaks's previous publication of classified material."

Earlier this week, Wikileaks moved to using Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services for its servers following a number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, according to IP traces run by technology publication ComputerWorld. A hacker called 'The Jester' (th3j35t3r) has claimed responisibility for the DDoS onslaught, which followed Wikileaks's release of US government documents on Sunday.

Wikileaks confirmed in a Twitter post that its servers have now been bumped off Amazon's cloud services and have moved to European providers. "Wikileaks servers at Amazon ousted," it said on Wednesday. "Free speech the land of the free — fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.

"If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books," Wikileaks said in a further tweet.

IP traces performed by ZDNet UK on Thursday indicated that Wikileaks is being hosted by two organisations — Swedish ISP Bahnhof Internet and French ISP Ovh Systems.

Amazon had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

In the wake of the Wikileaks revelations, US authorities plan to tighten up security around the information shared by its intelligence services, diplomatic corps and military, the country's defence secretary Robert Gates said in a speech on Tuesday. The US government will implement technology to monitor behavioural anomalies similar to that used by credit card companies, and apply stricter access controls, he said.

Since August — a month after Wikileaks published a number of US intelligence documents — the US military has been implementing several information security procedures. These include workstation monitoring and disabling CD- and DVD-write capabilities, said Gates, who noted that after 9/11, the information sharing between the US intelligence services, diplomatic corps and military organisations had been spread too widely.

Topics: Government, Security

About

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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