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WikiLeaks Avengers Strike Mastercard, Visa, Others

"Operation Payback" targeting those perceived as targeting WikiLeaks

2 min read
WikiLeaks Avengers Strike Mastercard, Visa, Others

Operation Payback has begun.

As nicely summarized by the London Guardian, a "group of online activists calling themselves Anonymous appear to have orchestrated a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack" on multiple organizations the group feels are censoring WikiLeaks and are unfairly targeting its editor in chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

The WikiLeaks web site itself was hit with a massive DDoS attack when it first began releasing the 250,000 confidential US diplomatic documents Mr. Assange had in his possession.

The "WikiLeaks Avengers' " (or cyber-anarchists if you are being less charitable) list of those deserving retaliation in kind is long.

Before we go further, let do a short review of what has happened that has caused the retribution. A more detailed timeline can be found here at the London Guardian.

Julian Assange was arrested in London earlier this week on a European Arrest Warrant from Swedish authorities for suspected rape, a charge he denies. Bail has been denied.

In addition, the US Department of Justice has announced that it is actively examining different options to prosecute Mr. Assange, possibly for espionage.

Further, Amazon.comended the hosting of the WikiLeaks web site after apparent pressure by the US government (which Amazon denies).

Concurrently, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and the Swiss Post Office Bank, all said that they would stop processing donations to WikiLeaks and/or freeze its assets.

PayPal also said, when it suspended WikiLeaks account on a week ago, that "it wasn't contacted by any government agency and took the action on its own," according to this story in Bloomberg News.

However, a story in yesterday's London Guardian quoted PayPal's vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, as stating that the US Department of State:

 "... wrote a letter [to PayPal] saying that the WikiLeaks' activities were deemed illegal in the United States and as a result our policy group had to make the decision of suspending the account."

So much for no US government contact or pressure on PayPal or likely the others.

The UN High Commissioner for Human RightsNavi Pillay has expressed concern today over US and other governmental pressure on PayPal, Visa, etc. to stop taking donations for WikiLeaks. A Reutersstory reports her stating that if WikiLeaks has done something illegal, it should be addressed through the legal system. Doing otherwise could violate WikiLeaks' right to freedom of expression.  

Anyway, the WikiLeaks Avengers have, through their DDoS attacks, been able to bring down for a time the web sites of MasterCard, Visa, and the Swedish prosecutor who sought Mr. Assange's arrest. PayPal is high on the list to be taken down. The attacks against Amazon apparently have failed, at least so far.

Former US Vice-President candidate Sarah Palin, who has stated that Mr. Assange is "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" has seen her web site attacked as well.

More DDoS attacks are being promised, as this mini-cyberwar continues. When will it stop is anyone's guess, for as I said earlier, the target list is long.

One last note, the UK site is reportedly now selling WikiLeaks documents.

I wonder if the US government is going to go after Amazon now, and if not, I wonder if Mr. Assange's big mistake is that gave away the US diplomatic documents for free, instead of charging money for them.

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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