Why are hacktivists 'Anonymous' defending WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks screen grab

A group of "hacktivists" who crippled websites in revenge for cutting off services to whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks are warned they will continue their "digital sit-in" in a campaign for total internet freedom.

The group, known as Anonymous, has disrupted sites belonging to finance giants including MasterCard and Visa.

They bombarded their websites with millions of bogus visits during a campaign called "Operation Payback".

Coldblood is from Anonymous and explains why he's supporting WikiLeaks.

What is Anonymous?

Anonymous is a group of individuals who get together to decide they want to do something.

One of the main goals of Anonymous is keep the internet free and open for everyone to use and not to censor data or anything that goes through the internet.

Why have you suddenly come to our attention?

Anonymous had been defending WikiLeaks by attacking the companies which have decided not to do business with WikiLeaks any more.

That includes Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard.

What are you hoping to gain from this?

Julian Assange
Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, has been arrested in the UK

What Anonymous is hoping to gain from it is to push the picture to these companies that if they bow down to government pressure they still have to respond to the user.

The person that uses that service.

I feel the way the US government in particular is trying to stop the flow of data from WikiLeaks, it's a vital step the government's taking to censor and be able to control what's on the internet.

Do you think that by attacking something that the public uses, especially in the run-up to Christmas when many people are online shopping, do you think that is the best way to get your point across?

We could try to talk to these companies but the odds are they wouldn't listen.

By doing this, we're forcing them to listen.

If people can't access these websites, it's bringing people's attention to the cause and why we're doing it.

Do you think it's just going to anger the public?

It probably has angered some of the public but we feel that it's a necessary evil.

Would you call yourself a computer hacker?

I wouldn't describe myself as a computer hacker.

I'm just quite tech savvy personally.

Anonymous is made up from people everywhere.

We've got some teachers, we've just got people from all walks of life who are participating in it.

What kind of campaigns have you been involved with in the past?

Some of the major campaigns we've done are against the Church of Scientology.

We helped with the flow of data out of Iran when there where all the riots and protests in Tehran over their election.

We also attacked the Australian government when they decided to put a giant firewall to censor the internet.

Is this going to turn into an all out cyber war?

I don't think it's going to turn into an all out cyber war.

It's maybe one battle in a very, very long uphill struggle.

What we feel is that, if we let the government continue doing what they're doing to WikiLeaks more and more websites will fall when governments say, 'Ah, I don't like this organisation.'

By standing up for WikiLeaks we're feeling we're helping to pave the way for the future so that websites like WikiLeaks or any website can carry on on the internet without fear of the government shutting them down.

If this doesn't work, how far are you prepared to go? What happens next?

We don't really know.

Anonymous works on a day by day basis.

All the ideas are from the members of Anonymous.

People throw idea out there, and they like it enough and it sticks, the idea becomes reality.

Lots of people have been working on the long-term.

For example, people are making mirrors of WikiLeaks.

The last time I checked the stats, there were 1,247 copies of WikiLeaks out there.

The main goal of that is, if you take down WikiLeaks there are still more than a thousand websites you have to take down to stop the flow of information.