Amazon Denies Hacker Attack Caused Shutdown of European Sites

Amazon.com Inc. denied a report that hackers disrupted its European shopping sites after the e-commerce company cut off access to the WikiLeaks website.

"The brief interruption to our European retail sites earlier today was due to hardware failure in our European data center network and not the result of a DDOS attempt," Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said in an e-mailed statement, referring to a so-called denial-of-service attack.

Hackers protesting the company’s decision to cut off access to WikiLeaks, which has published secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents, may have shut down Amazon.co.uk as well as French, German and Italian versions of the site, the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. MasterCard Inc.’s website was slowed last week by a flood of traffic in a denial-of-service attack after it blocked use of its network by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has posted thousands of classified U.S. State Department documents on its website, many of which have been published in newspapers including the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian, drawing condemnation from the Obama administration and other governments. Amazon decided to stop hosting WikiLeaks as a result, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman said on Dec. 1.

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