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‘All-out cyber war’ erupts over WikiLeaks: ‘Anonymous’ hackers take MasterCard offline

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Yesterday, MasterCard Worldwide became the latest financial institution to face the wrath of online hackers acting to avenge secrets outlet WikiLeaks over the credit card provider's declaration that the site was engaged in "illegal" activities.

Not 36 hours after MasterCard froze payments to WikiLeaks, their website was down as hackers with the group "Anonymous" launched a new wave of cyberattacks. The company said its customers could still use their credit cards for purchases, but the PayPoint retail network told a BBC reporter that MasterCard's "SecureCode" service had been taken down, interrupting service all over.

The hackers also claimed responsibility for taking down the website for Swiss bank PostFinance, after it froze an account with over €31,000 set aside for site founder Julian Assange's legal defense.

Assange was arrested in London yesterday on an Interpol warrant out of Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning in an investigation of sexual assault.

"Anonymous" has dubbed their cyber warfare campaign "Operation Payback," threatening to "fire" on any entity that attempts to censor WikiLeaks.

Service to mastercard.com was unavailable at time of this writing. The website for the Swedish prosecutor's office was also offline, as was a site for the lawyer representing Assange's accusers.

Secure Computing Magazine called what's happening "an all-out cyber war," noting that massive botnets were attacking each other by mid-Wednesday morning as even the 'Anonymous' group had come under fire from another group of hackers that sought to defend US interests.

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