Wikileaks, the site that has infuriated the US government by releasing thousands of US diplomatic cables, is being hosted by one of the symbols of that country’s internet success – Amazon.
The site came under a “Distributed Denial of Service” (DDOS) attack on Sunday night from an unidentified hacker, forcing it to seek a new location for its computer files. And it found it though Amazon’s “Elastic Cloud Computing” (EC2) service, which enables businesses to hire its servers and store their data there.
DDOS attacks typically force sites off the net unless they have enormous bandwidth at their disposal or highly effective countermeasures. Wikileaks, being small and struggling for funds, is neither.
But EC2 allows companies to pay for their usage as it mounts up, rather than upfront.
While Amazon is American, not all of its servers are hosted there – and it could cause a major incident if the US government were to take action against a company on the basis that it might be hosting material the government finds embarrassing.