WikiLeaks.org Domain ‘Killed’ by U.S. Domain Name Provider

The WikiLeaks.org web address is no longer functioning after an American internet company, www.EveryDNS.net, pulled the plug on the site.

The WikiLeaks.org web address is no longer functioning after an American internet company, www.EveryDNS.net, pulled the plug on the site. However, the site is accessible via IP-addresses. Photo: TheBlogIsMine/Flickr

While the WikiLeaks website is still accessible via its IP-addresses — http://88.80.13.160/ and http://213.251.145.96/, people trying to access the site by typing WikiLeaks.org into a search engine or their browser will not be successful.

Dynamic Network Services’ subsidiary, EveryDNS.net, terminated the WikiLeaks.org domain name because repeated DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against WikiLeaks “have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure,” it said on its website.

EveryDNS.net said it notified WikiLeaks by email, Twitter and the chat function available through the WikiLeaks.org website that its domain name service would be terminated in 24-hours. That 24-hour period ended Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.

The California-based company’s terms and conditions state that “members shall not interfere with another member’s use and enjoyment of the service”. It hosts more than 500,000 sites around the world.

“Any downtime of the Wikileaks.org website has resulted from its failure to use another hosted DNS service provider,” EveryDNS.net said on its website.

WikiLeaks put out a note on Twitter account, saying: “WikiLeaks.org domain killed by U.S. EveryDNS.net after claimed mass attacks,” and implored supporters to keep WikiLeaks strong with continued donations.

Note that this doesn’t mean wikileaks has actually lost its domain: they lost DNS service, but EveryDNS.net isn’t the managing authority of the .org TLD. So, Wikileaks should be back as soon as new DNS records propogate.

Domain Name System (DNS) is the mechanism that translates human-readable website names, such as www.theblogismine.com into their IP or Internet Protocol address (in our case 64.64.29.248), a series four “octets” — values between 0 and 255. Every machine on the internet has its own unique IP address.

DNS is a distributed network of servers that provide the look up between the human-readable name, and the machine-readable numbers. There isn’t one server for the whole internet, but thousands of copies all over the world. When you type in a website address to your browser your internet service provider will translate that address to its IP address using its own, or a local, DNS lookup.

In order to keep all of those servers in synch with each other, the system auto-propagates any changes so that they are replicated the world over. It can take up to 24 hours for changes to be effected. Domain registration sites have the authority to make changes to the DNS system.

WikiLeaks has come under fire for publishing classified U.S. documents, including videos and documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as sensitive cables sent between U.S. embassies and the U.S. State Department. WikiLeaks continues to post the cables.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the development was an example of the “privatisation of state censorship” in the US and is a “serious problem.”

“These attacks will not stop our mission, but should be setting off alarm bells about the rule of law in the United States,” he warned, according to the UK’s Guardian.

WikiLeaks has released a file that it dubbed its “insurance policy.” The file is encrypted with a code that is so strong it is deemed impossible to break. It is said to be planning to release a key that unlocks the files if anything happens to the site or its founder, Julian Assange.

The latest move follows Amazon’s decision to drop WikiLeaks from its servers following political pressure. The company was originally hosting the site and giving it memory to share its database.

Its decision to drop the site earlier this week was praised by U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, who said it should “set the standard” for companies being used to distribute “illegally seized material.”

Update: The Wall Street Jouranl reports that “WikiLeaks, the controversial website that has leaked embarrassing details of U.S. diplomatic correspondence, has moved its service to a Swiss domain after its U.S. domain host pulled the site from its servers.” The WikiLeaks website is now available at http://wikileaks.ch/.

The WSJ continued: “While the http://wikileaks.ch/ looks to be a Swiss site, in fact the IP address behind the website is allocated to France which would suggest the servers are located there. Just to complicate things further, traffic to that address appears to be being re-routed via Sweden.” [via The Telegraph (UK) and Wall Street Journal]

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