Khamis, 27 Januari 2011

The Malaysian Insider :: World

The Malaysian Insider :: World

UK police arrest WikiLeaks backers for Web attacks

Posted: 27 Jan 2011 04:28 PM PST

Newspaper fronts reporting on the documents released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks are seen in New York, November 29, 2010. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Jan 28 — British police arrested five young men yesterday as they and US authorities conducted searches as part of a probe into Internet activists who carried out cyber attacks against groups they viewed as enemies of the WikiLeaks website.

"The arrests were related to recent 'distributed denial of service' (DDoS) attacks by an online group calling themselves Anonymous," London police said in a statement.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that agents executed more than 40 search warrants as part of its investigation and that the attacks were facilitated by software the group made available for free on the Internet.

"The FBI is working closely with its international law enforcement partners and others to mitigate these threats," the agency said in a statement, adding that there were other, unspecified investigative and enforcement actions in the Netherlands, Germany and France.

WikiLeaks, which was founded by Australian-born Julian Assange, has disclosed classified US diplomatic dispatches which included candid and embarrassing assessments of world leaders as well as classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition to the probe into the cyber attacks, US authorities have been investigating the leak of the documents themselves and their prime suspect has been a former US Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning.

Internet activists last month carried out a series of online assaults against institutions they viewed as enemies of WikiLeaks, temporarily bringing down the websites of credit-card giants Visa and MasterCard, and of the Swedish government.

Sweden wants Assange extradited from Britain so he can answer questions over sexual assault allegations.

Officers from a specialist London police unit dealing with online crime detained the five males, aged from 15 to 26, in raids at homes in central and southern England.

Dutch police last month arrested two teenagers suspected of involvement in the online campaign. They face trial later this year.

A DDoS attack consists of swamping the resources of a computer such as a server to make it unavailable to users.

The maximum penalty in Britain for offences of computer misuse is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of £5,000 (RM24,272).

In the United States, such a cyber attack carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and significant fines. — Reuters  

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Thousands march in Yemen to demand change of government

Posted: 27 Jan 2011 04:14 PM PST

SANAA, Jan 28 —Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa yesterday to demand a change of government, inspired by the unrest that has ousted Tunisia's leader and spread to Egypt this week.

Reuters witnesses estimated that around 16,000 Yemenis demonstrated in four parts of Sanaa in the largest rally since a wave of protests rocked Yemen last week, and protesters vowed to escalate the unrest unless their demands were met.

"The people want a change in president," protesters shouted, holding signs that also demanded improvements to living conditions in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally of the United States in a war against a resurgent al Qaeda wing based in Yemen, has ruled this Arabian Peninsula state for over 30 years.

"If the (ruling) party doesn't respond to our demands, we will escalate this until the president falls, just like what happened in Tunisia," said protester Ayub Hassan.

A few dozen policemen with batons silently watched the protests, which ended calmly as demonstrators left to chew qat, a mild stimulant leaf widely consumed in Yemen in the afternoon.

Yemen's ruling party ran a competing pro-government protest that gathered only a few hundred supporters, witnesses said.

Yemen, in the shadow of the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, is struggling with soaring unemployment and dwindling oil and water reserves. Almost half its 23 million people live on US$2 (RM6) a day or less, and a third suffer from chronic hunger.

Mohammed al-Sharfy, a student protester at the Sanaa University rally of around 10,000 protesters, said economic disparities needed to be addressed.

"I am here to say no to corruption. We need to end this trend of graduating thousands of university students each year with no jobs, while officials and their kids take everything."


Current unrest appears to be partly a reaction to a proposal floated late last year by members of Saleh's ruling party, the General People's Congress, to end presidential term limits that would require Saleh to step down when his term ends in 2013.

Yemen's opposition coalition tried to rally against the idea in December, but failed to bring large numbers to the street. The wider support for recent protests is apparently influenced by Tunisia's successful revolt.

"They tried before Tunisia to get people out and couldn't, so their ability to get a good showing now has been deeply influenced by events in Tunisia," Yemeni analyst Abdulghani al-Iryani said.

Saleh's party backtracked last week in an effort to calm discontent, floating the idea of a new amendment that would limit a president to two terms of either five or seven years.

Opposition leaders say that proposal is not enough, as it is seen as allowing Saleh to run for two more terms.

"We will continue protesting until the ruling party backs off its amendment proposals and initiates dialogue with all political parties, including the (separatist) Southern Movement, and ending corruption," said Fakher Yahya, a protest organizer.

Yemen is trying to quell secessionist rebellion in its south and cement a truce with northern Shi'ite rebels.

Saleh also promised this week to raise salaries of civil servants and military personnel by at least US$47 dollars a month.

Opposition MP Abdul Malik al-Qasous said people wanted political and economic reforms.

"The opportunity for reform is still available, and we fear the situation will reach a point where people will not hear their ruler when he says, 'I have understood you!'" — Reuters 

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