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Downtime for Amazon UK hints at cyber attack for e-commerce firm

13 December 2010 - 13:00 by David Aiken

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On Sunday night, Amazon's UK website was unavailable to consumers, leading some to suggest that it had become the latest victim of the hacking collective known by the name Anonymous.

The German, Italian and French iterations of Amazon were also taken down for a short period and now there are rumours that this blackout occurred as a result of the aforementioned group, which has been attacking various corporate sites after the widespread mutiny against whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

At this time, it is important to note that the Amazon site may also have been taken offline in so many European countries as a result of a technical issue, which would make sense, since the firm has been getting so much sustained traffic as consumers who seek safe shopping online, get all of their Christmas gifts before the holiday season.

Amazon now joins MasterCard, Visa and PayPal as one of many major sites which have been allegedly impacted by the so-called Anonymous hacker collective. Last week it emerged that the group had apparently been able to steal payment card details relating to 10,000 individuals from MasterCard, but these were, subsequently, proven to be fake.

Significantly, the fact that some of Amazon's client sites which use its servers were knocked offline at a similar time, suggests that the outage was caused by a technical glitch from within the e-commerce giant, rather than a deliberate attack from a third party organisation.

Members of Anonymous have been cagey about their involvement in the recent attacks, largely because mentioning specific incidents has resulted in various members being booted off Twitter.

 One UK contributor to the international hacking initiative said that Amazon had been hit by a direct attack early on Sunday, but that safe shopping online had been able to resume quickly and the later downtime may have been unrelated.