maloki

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Trans: My day with Internet War pt. 1/?

Posted by maloki på 6 december, 2010

This is the translation to English of Min dag med Internetkrig del 1/?. Just helping a friend.

My day with Internet War – Part 1/?

Friday morning began with a phone call, a phone sales person, nothing important. But I woke up and could not fall back to sleep, so I booted up my computer and connected to IRC. I found that most of the channels were dead and the people were sleeping. Some persons in US was active for a few minutes.

Then I started to notice something in the twitter feed, ”wikileaks.org are down”. So I started to dig into it, tried to resolve the server, and yes, the domain name was down. You could not reach wikileaks.org anylonger. We started to dig for their IP-Addresses. We found one, not exactly the one we were looking for but it was a lead to get the data out from wikileaks.org. We got the start page and a broken link to cablegate, being the site we wanted to get to. Someone accidentally tweeted it, and it started to be retweeted with the info that cablegates was there. Which wasn’t true at the moment, but it is now.

We got hold of another address from an entirely different network, and it had the same content as the previous one and now also cablegate. We tweeted out the info about it, that Wikileaks exists there and is still accessible. A lot of people retweeted it. Information is rapidly and widely spread, and in the channel we begin to realize that we were in epicenter of the information, we had the opportunity to spread the up-to-date information to thousands of readers. We were kept up to date with information from inside and outside our lines. Varifying as we went.

In the middle of this wikileaks hosting on Amazon was killed, without warning. They switched their primary host for the third time within a few hours during the morning. Telecomix topic kept up-to-date with the latest information and was not late to tweet the news.

We put up a mirror on a server that I share with a few friends. It quickly became popular, and it was probably one of the first 10 mirror sites of Wikileaks that was created for this purpose. We spread the link through Telecomix twitter, and again, it spread rapidly and widely. The first was merely a snapshot of wikileaks own server that we mirrored, but later in the evening we developed it a little. We named it http://cablegate.failar.nu

At this point it was time for me to head into town, a quite inconvenient day to have other things to do than keep a watchful eye on the flow and keep things in order. Thanks to my N900 I could keep a pretty good idea of what was going on and do some administrative work while I was out. Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio) in the P3 News reported first that EveryDNS had taken down Wikileaks because of the attacks (referral to DDoS), which was a lie. I tweeted this through the Telecomix channel, right should be right. Next news report they had taken in some ”Computer Expert” that explained what actually was going on and the significance of it. The homepage was up and running and had always been, you just had to know where to look.

The Swiss Pirate Party made a good effort in buying wikileaks.ch and pointed it to wikileaks server, it worked well and became the new primary domain that people diligently used. It got its biggest impact after we ran it through Telecomix Twitter. The problem with wikileaks.ch was that it as well was hosted with EveryDNS and just as wikileaks.org it was removed by EveryDNS in an attempt to remove the only incentive to DDoS their name servers. Later that day all of EveryDNS’ name servers were down, completely. All four of them. Which is quite extreme for being such a huge host of DNS. The result being that wikileaks.ch was down and we had to fall back on IP-addresses again.

That evening when I got to the pub we realized that we should update our mirror of wikileaks in a better way than once in a while at random. So at the pub, with a cider i one hand and my N900 in the other I started to hack together a script that would re-mirror the whole site into a folder, put the files in order, add any new files in the repo and commit. Then have it rinse and repeat every 30 minutes. So I have a repo with changes on Cablegate from approximately 9pm and forward (add date), we can go back in revisions and always have intact data no matter what happens to the data on wikileaks servers.

More mirrors were being created, and in the evening we could count up to something like 84 of them in the mirror list, it was quite a lot to keep track of. To do this they, just as I would have, started a pad where you could help to list and sort all mirrors. It started in ietherpad but they only allow 16 people in a pad at the time, normally that’s a lot. In this case it was peanuts. It was moved over to Mozillas open pad, and from what I’ve read even they got a taste of the DDoS to kill Wikileaks. The list was moved over to Tumblr, and from what I’ve seen they have not had any problems with attacks yet.

In the evening things started to subside, the entire day had been one immense chaos of information flow. And I like it! The chaos left its marks with that it’s not the authority that rules the Internet, Internet is its own organism. That thanks to hacktivists live and thrive. To DDoS companies to make them remove names out of the name servers will not kill a homepage. At least not when if hacktivists wants it to stay, then it will spread even further. After having only been available from two sites at the beginning of the day, it’s now up on 84 servers. Distribution, huh? Not such an efficient take down after all.

It has been an eventful day on our Internet, I believe that I’m one of the few that’s really seen and has a good overview of what happened today. A lot of well spent hours is spent on checking sources, collecting facts, and filter data to be able to spread knowledge and information with powerful tools to them who have been interested.

Knowledge is power, this has been proven time and again today.

I’ve also been thinking about the release of the cables, that they are releasing a few documents at a time. This is incredibly clever if you want impact. When they released the War Diary it mainly got attention because it was so much, but none could actually digest all its content. It was too much in too short of a time span. After having thinking about it I find that I really like that they are doing it like they are now. It’s a good move.

I want to leave a great thanks to Telecomix, for their existence. For the people being there. For the fact that people work so well together in a group and help each other. During periods of the day when I had other things to do there was always someone else keeping track. We’ve been keeping a watchful eye all day. The Telecomix Twitter has been a very good channel to spread out the information about what has actually been going on. ”Telecomix News Agency – Reporting Live From the Internet.” And that is exactly what we’ve done today.


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