For just over a week, WikiLeaks websites have been hammered by DDoS attacks. The websites are often not available, or are extremely slow to access.
A group calling themselves AntiLeaks has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group refers to Julian Assange as "a new breed of terrorist" and states that they launched the attack in response to Assange's attempt to seek political asylum in Ecuador.
The group's self-proclaimed leader, who calls himself "Diet Pepsi", gave a statement on Twitter:
"We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America and are deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and his attempt at asylum in Ecuador."
"Assange is the head of a new breed of terrorist. We are doing this as a protest against his attempt to escape justice into Ecuador. This would be a catalyst for many more like him to rise up in his place. We will not stop and they will not stop us."
AntiLeaks Twitter feed
AntiLeaks has not been heard from before and only started its Twitter feed this month. It is possible that they are claiming responsibility for the attacks, but not actually carrying them out.
The group is allegedly using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to overwhelm the websites with bogus requests from thousands of different Internet addresses, which compromises access for legitimate users.
The DDoS attacks started at around the beginning of August and are intensifying, WikiLeaks said in a statement on Saturday. The traffic amounts to up to 10 gigabits per second and attacks both the main WikiLeaks website and its mirror websites.
Josh Corman from online content delivery company Akamai has characterized the attack as "a bit larger" than attacks commonly seen in the past few years.
The cyber attack coincides with the release by WikiLeaks of a new portion of emails acquired by the hacktivist group, Anonymous, from the server of consulting firm, Stratfor. This batch apparently concerns the supposed existence of a U.S.-based system called Trapwire, which allegedly collects images from surveillance cameras across the U.S. and uses them to track people for possible threats.
In the meantime, Ecuador has said it is going to make a decision on Assange’s asylum request shortly after the London Olympic Games, which finished yesterday.
Update August 14: The WikiLeaks website is currently up and running. However, this does not mean that the DDoS attack has stopped.