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Wikileaks turns to cloud computing to fend off DDoS attack

Warwick Ashford

Whistleblowing site Wikileaks turned to cloud computing services to help defend against a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack as it prepared to publish thousands of US diplomatic cables this week.

As it came under attack on Sunday night, Wikileaks needed a new location for its files, and turned to Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service, according to The Guardian.

The Amazon service enabled the beleaguered Wikileaks to hire its servers and store its data there on a pay-per-usage basis, requiring no upfront investment.

As the controversial content is hosted by a French company, the pages hosted by Amazon do not contain any information the US government has been complaining about, giving it little cause to complain to Amazon, the paper said.

As the impact of the release of the US diplomatic communications by Wikileaks escalates, security commentators have said all organisation should take note.

"This incident should serve as a reminder to all organisations globally of how easily, and quickly, vast amounts of information can be disseminated," said Alan Calder, chief executive of information security firm IT Governance.

Hundreds of thousands of documents can be stored and moved electronically on items as small as CDs, personal digital assistants, laptop computers and mobile phones, he said.

"Any company that takes data protection seriously needs to identify those risks and apply the appropriate technical controls, as well as implementing full staff training," said Calder.


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