All morning, hackers claiming to be fighting back on behalf of Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been attacking major websites that recently stopped offering services to the organization. "Operation Payback" has already brought down Mastercard's site, Paypal is under attack, as is a bank that froze Julian Assange's accounts. Meanwhile, Julian Assange is in custody in England, waiting to see if he'll be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. Ironically, the attacks on these major sites aren't all that different from similar efforts to bring down Wikileaks itself (one tactic being used is to take down the sites by pure volume of traffic). But how do they really work, and how do hackers decide what to target?
We talk with Ryan Singel, staff writer for Wired, as well as Ravi Somaiya, reporter for our partner The New York Times, for more on this topic.