In the wake of large-scale online attacks on U.S. companies, such as MasterCard and Visa, which pulled support from whistle-blower site WikiLeaks, the British government is hunkering down over fears of similarly disruptive Internet activity on U.K. sites, a New Zealand newspaper reported.
The New Zealand Herald reports U.K. National Security Adviser Peter Ricketts announced new security measures for British government websites to brace for an expected spate of attacks from pro-WikiLeaks hackers, or hacktivists.
The online gathering Anonymous said earlier this week it might assail British online targets if Assange were extradited to Sweden on sexual assault charges.
But, it appears the worst may not come after all, as the global gadfly was granted bail by a British judge today.
In a statement from a London prison, Assange appeared to remain unchastened.
“My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have always expressed,” he said, according to a report in The Herald. “These circumstances shall not shake them. If anything, this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct. We now know that Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are instruments of U.S. foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before.”
He ended with a call to his supporters to “protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral acts.”
But, even though Assange will soon walk out of prison, British authorities are not entirely optimistic that cyber attacks won’t happen.
Media reports speculate that Internet “hacktivity” might continue, especially after Assange’s British lawyer claimed yesterday a secret grand jury has been empanelled just outside Washington, D.C., in Virginia to mull charges against Assange for publishing the leaked diplomatic cables.