MasterCard Says Website Faltered Amid Internet-Service Outage

MasterCard Inc., the world’s second-biggest consumer-payments network, said it lost service on its website today because of a failure at an Internet service provider.

The site was restored after a “telecommunications/Internet Service Provider outage that impacted multiple companies, including ours,” James Issokson, a spokesman for MasterCard, said in an e-mail after he was asked whether hackers were responsible. “It is important to note that no cardholder data has been impacted and that cardholders can continue to use their cards securely.”

A post on Twitter from Ibom Hacktivist said “thats what you get when you mess with @wikileaks @Anon_Central and the enter [sic] community of lulz loving individuals.” A hacker group called Lulz Security, or LulzSec, has said it broke into sites at Sony Corp. and the U.S. Senate.

MasterCard’s website was knocked offline in December after the Purchase, New York-based company blocked WikiLeaks from using its network to collect payments from donors. WikiLeaks, led by Julian Assange, publishes secret documents on the Web, including confidential U.S. diplomatic documents. The previous attack on MasterCard was orchestrated by Anonymous, an “internet vigilante group,” TechCrunch reported at the time.

WikiLeaks released a statement today on its website to mark the six-month anniversary of MasterCard’s decision to block it from using the payments network.

“Censorship, like everything else in the West, has been privatized,” WikiLeaks wrote, also blaming companies including Visa Inc., Bank of America Corp. and PayPal Inc., a unit of EBay Inc. “The attack has blocked over 90 percent of the nonprofit organization’s donations, costing some $15 million in lost revenue. The attack is entirely outside of any due process or rule of law.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on the disruption to MasterCard’s website and Twitter posts earlier today.

MasterCard climbed $5.21, or 1.9 percent, to $277.81 at 1:12 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has gained 24 percent this year.

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