| Updated at: 0002 PST, Wednesday, December 08, 2010|
LONDON: The websites of the international credit card MasterCard and the Swedish prosecution authority have been taken offline in the latest development over WikiLeaks, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
Co-ordinated attacks by online activists who support the site and its founder Julian Assange – who is in UK custody accused of raping two Swedish women – have seen the websites of the alleged victims' Swedish lawyer disabled, while commercial and political targets have also been subject to attack by a loose coalition of global hackers.
The Swedish prosecution authority has confirmed its website was attacked last night and this morning. MasterCard was partially paralysed today in revenge for the payment network's decision to cease taking donations to WikiLeaks.
In an attack referred to as Operation Payback, a group of online activists calling themselves Anonymous appear to have orchestrated a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on the financial site, bringing its service to a halt.
Attempts to access www.mastercard.com have been unsuccessful since shortly after 9.30am.
The site would say only that it was "experiencing heavy traffic on its external corporate website" but insisted this would not interfere with its ability to process transactions.
MasterCard announced on Monday that it would no longer process donations to WikiLeaks, which it claimed was engaged in illegal activity.
Visa, Amazon, Swiss bank PostFinance and others have also announced in recent days that they will cease trading with the whistle blower site.
The moves have led to concerted attempts by hackers to target companies they deem guilty of "censoring" WikiLeaks.