While American government officials were enjoying their holiday on Monday, Swedish government officials were contending with a nightmare: their websites were jammed by hackers for hours. The IT problems went all the way to the top, affecting the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish government, and the Swedish Institute, among others.
Although Niklas Englund, the head of digital media for the Swedish Armed Forces told the Associated Press that it was “unclear” who was behind the attacks, there has been some suspicion cast. On Twitter (News - Alert), some of the supporters of the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, claimed that they were responsible. Assange is currently camped out in the Ecuadorian Embassy of Britain, where he is attempting to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he will face charges related to alleged sex crimes.
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This is not the first time that Assange supporters have threatened government security and operations with hacking. A hacker, who identifies themselves as 0x00x00, posted the usernames, passwords, and PINs of Hertfordshire and Nottinghamshire police officers to the website Pastebin. The personal information was posted with a banner that read “OpFreeAssange”.
Whether or not the same person is responsible for both attacks or if independent Assange supporters are responsible is uncertain, as is whether or not the person responsible for the Swedish government’s problems is even related to the Assange support movement. With the backing of WikiLeaks behind him, it will come as no surprise to anyone if Assange supporters are, in fact, behind Monday’s shenanigans.
While Assange predicts living in the Ecuadorian embassy for the next year, his supporters staunchly advocate that the alleged sex crimes are no more than an attempt to punish him for the controversial information that he has made public since 2006 through WikiLeaks, which has received everything from harsh criticism to attempted blacklisting to the detention of its representatives in countries worldwide.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman