As the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks comes under mounting cyber-attacks and as hosting companies continue to withdraw their services, it is appealing to its supporters around the world to create mirror sites.
“WikiLeaks is currently under heavy attack,” the site said in a message posted yesterday. “In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove WikiLeaks from the Internet, we need your help. If you have a Unix-based server which is hosting a website on the Internet and you want to give WikiLeaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!”
The procedure to follow is detailed at this page: http://wikileaks.ch/mass-mirror.html
- Set up an account where WikiLeaks can upload files using RSYNC+SSH (preferred) or FTP
- Put the WikiLeaks SSH key in this server or create an FTP account
- Create a virtual host in your web server, which, for example, can be wikileaks.yourdomain.com,
send the IP address of your server to WikiLeaks, and the path where WikiLeaks should upload the content (by filling in a form on this page).
WikiLeaks adds that it will take care of all the rest, sending pages to your server and updating them each time data is released.
A mirror site is an exact copy of the original site, offering the same information and the same files. Mirror sites are created in order to distribute the bandwidth load and facilitate large numbers of simultaneous downloads. It eases the load on the server hosting the main site by distributing it around the mirror sites.
According to the latest reports, WikiLeaks is accessible at www.wikileaks.ch, a Swiss website address operated by the Swiss Pirate Party, a political group that estimates that it is getting 3,000 visits a second. Hundreds of mirror sites have already been created.
The White House meanwhile issued a directive on 3 December forbidding unauthorized federal employees from accessing classified documents available on WikiLeaks. The Library of Congress responded a few hours later by blocking access to WikiLeaks from its computers. “Each federal employee and contractor is obligated to protect classified information,” the directive from the White House Office of Management and Budget said, stressing that the fact that documents had been leaked did not mean they had been declassified.
The same day, the U.S. military posted the following message on NIPRNet, the Internet network used by its troops in Iraq: “Department of Defence military, civilian and contractor personnel should not access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information.”
With Internet users throughout the world now able to access these documents, Reporters Without Borders regards these directives as a violation of the right to information.
In another blow to WikiLeaks, the United States-based payment service PayPal has cut off its account, claiming that it has violated a PayPal policy “which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.”
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, could be arrested this week in Britain for alleged sexual assault, the London-based daily The Times has reported, quoting police sources. If arrested, if would be on the basis of a new international warrant that has just been issued in Sweden, prosecutors in Stockholm said on 3 December
One of Assange’s lawyers told Reporters Without Borders on 4 December that it would normally take ten days for the British police to receive and act on an international warrant after its issue, “unless Mr. Assange is treated differently,” he added. In an online chat on the El País website, Assange said he had received hundreds of death threats, targeting not only himself but also his lawyers and children.