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Amazon hit by web failure

London, Dec 13 (IANS) European sites of online retailer Amazon suffered a temporary failure for about 30 minutes, amid ongoing threats against major sites by pro-WikiLeaks activists, the BBC reported Monday.

British, French, German, Austrian and Italian sites were down for about 30 minutes Sunday during a peak pre-Christmas shopping period.

Amazon sites ending in .it, .de, .uk, .fr and .at – which are all hosted from Dublin – were unavailable for about half an hour at about 2115 GMT, according to a Twitter post by web monitoring firm Netcraft.

However, all servers were back after a brief delay, the firm said.

A group of cyber activists – which calls itself Anonymous – has been hitting firms that withdrew services from whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

There were, however, no clear indications that Anonymous was responsible for the disruption to Amazon, and the group has not said it carried out an attack.

There has been no official comment from Amazon too.

Anonymous had earlier planned to mount a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Amazon several days ago.

On Friday, however, Anonymous publicly abandoned plans to hit Amazon, saying they did not have the ‘forces’.

‘We cannot attack Amazon, currently. The previous schedule was to do so, but we don’t have enough forces,’ read one message on Twitter Friday.

DDoS attacks involve overloading a website with a high number of requests so that it stops working.

Anonymous’ ‘Operation Payback’ campaign has targeted the websites of Paypal, Mastercard and Visa, as well as the Swedish Prosecutor’s website after a case was brought against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange is in British custody awaiting an extradition hearing after being accused of sex crimes in Sweden. He has denied the charges.

WikiLeaks recently released a cache of secret diplomatic cables from US embassies across the world.

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