The online website WikiLeaks on Sunday blamed the temporary outage of its site on a denial-of-service attack by unknown hackers trying to prevent its release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S.State Department documents.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter early Sunday that its website was “under a mass distributed denial of service attack” but promised that Spain’s El Pais, France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Britain’s Guardian newspaper and The New York Times “will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down.” WikiLeaks had given the media outlets prior access to the diplomatic cables to publish in conjunction with their Sunday release on its site.

An apparent hacker attack crashed the Wikileaks website Sunday, just as 250,000 leaked US diplomatic despatches were being made public, but news media sites carrying edited versions of the cables remained operational.

The domain was brought down by a method known as distributed denial of service (DDoS), in which a huge number of computers repeatedly demand web pages from the server, shutting out ordinary human users and causing the server to jam.

There was no indication Sunday who might have mounted the attack.

On the social network Twitter, WikiLeaks announced, “We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack.”

Media which had advance access to the cables offered many of them via their own websites. The publishing consortium included the Der Spiegel of Germany, The New York Times, the London newspaper The Guardian and El Pais of Madrid.

SOURCE: Yahoo News

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