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Ecuador says it faced 40 million cyberattacks after giving up Assange

The attacks reportedly came from across the world.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 16, 2019
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Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ecuador's government may be facing virtual retaliation for its decision to allow Julian Assange's arrest. The country's deputy minister for information and communication technologies, Patricio Real, claimed that its institutions' websites had faced 40 million cyberattacks in the days since it effectively turned Assange in. The denial of service attacks flooded a number of major targets, including President Moreno's office, the internal revenue service and the central bank.

There was no one clear point of origin for the reported attacks. Real said they "principally" came from the US, UK, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and even Ecuador. There don't appear to have been any attempts (successful, at least) to delete or steal data.

Ecuador was considered Assange's closest ally under former President Rafael Correa, who granted asylum to the WikiLeaks founder in his country's London embassy and rejected the UK's claims that it had authority to arrest Assange on embassy grounds. All that changed when Ecuador elected Moreno, however. He saw Assange as an "inherited problem," and the embassy gradually curbed his internet access along with other privileges. The threat of expulsion had been lingering for nearly a year before Ecuador permitted Assange's arrest. In that light, cyberattacks wouldn't be surprising -- Assange's supporters have been bracing themselves for this possibility for years.

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