Anonymous takes up the fight for WikiLeaks

Members of infamous hacker group Anonymous have reportedly taken up WikiLeaks' cause, launching denial of service attacks on a range of sites connected to founder Julian Assange.

According to Ars Technica, Anonymous has attacked sites including PayPal, Swiss bank PostFinance and the site of the Swedish prosecutors in Mr Assange's sexual assault case. An Anonymous member going by the alias Coldblood has told the BBC that targets are being made of sites that are ''bowing down to government pressure''.

"As an organisation we have always taken a strong stance on censorship and freedom of expression on the internet and come out against those who seek to destroy it by any means,'' he said.

The group expressed a similar sentiment on their website, stating that they ''will find and will attack those who stand against Wikileaks and we will support WikiLeaks in everything they need.''

PayPal was reportedly the group's first target after the company cut off WikiLeaks' account - the PayPal blog went offline for a short time yesterday, though the main site appeared unaffected. Attacks against PostFinance, who closed Mr Assange's account earlier this week, appear to have been more successful - Ars Technica reports the bank's site went offline for more than 16 hours. It remained inaccessible as of 1AM EST, but had come back online by 4.45AM.

Further attacks are reportedly planned against Twitter, after it was claimed the site had prevented the #wikileaks hashtag from appearing in the trending topics list. Twitter has denied the claims, saying there are a number of factors that determine whether a topic is trending or not.

Seemingly in response to actions by Anonymous, the group's site was itself taken down by a denial of service attack late yesterday, but was online by 5AM EST after it was moved to a new server.

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