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Hackers target Ecuadorian govt after Assange arrest

Ecuadorian state agencies have suffered more than 40 million hacking attacks since the government stripped WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange of political asylum last week, an Ecuadorian official said on Monday.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday after Ecuador withdrew his asylum which had allowed him to take refuge in the country's embassy in London since 2012. (Peter Nicholls, Reuters)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police after Ecuador withdrew his asylum which had allowed him to take refuge in the country’s embassy in London since 2012. (Peter Nicholls, Reuters)

Most cyber-attacks started Thursday and came from Britain, France, Romania, the United States, Brazil and Ecuador, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications Patricio Real told a press conference.

State-run websites that have come under attack include the President’s Office, the ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior, and the Central Bank.

“There were a couple of (online) pages belonging to Decentralised Autonomous Governments that were hacked, but have been re-established. The problem didn’t spread further because the situation was resolved in a few hours,” said Real.

The international hacking campaign was aimed at disabling government websites, he said. Ecuador ranked No.31, up from No.51, on the list of countries suffering the most cyber-attacks in just four days, the deputy minister said.

Assange was arrested on Thursday by British police in London after the government of Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno stripped him of political asylum granted to him by the previous government in 2012.

Assange, who at the time was being pursued by Swedish authorities for sexual misconduct, argued he was being politically persecuted for his role in revealing US war crimes. Ecuador on Monday said it received assurances from the British authorities that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face the death penalty.

Since Assange’s arrest, the global hacktivist group “Anonymous” has issued a threat saying “Free Assange or you will pay,” said Real. Ecuador has accepted Israel’s help in fending off cyber attacks, officials said. – Xinhua

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