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Did Anonymous Crash Amazon Website?

Amazon is potentially the next high-profile name to be targeted by a group of cyber-activists in relation to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, after the online retailer's website went down for half-an-hour on 12 December.

Among the European websites affected were the British, French, German, Austrian and Italian sites, which end .it, .de, .uk, .fr and .at - which are all hosted in Dublin. The half an hour crash happened at 21.45 GMT on Sunday - one of the busiest online shopping times.

Initial blame has been directed at Anonymous, a cyber-activist group that managed to bring down Mastercard's official website last week after the financial giant withdrew funding to Wikileaks. However Amazon were quick to point out that the outage on Sunday was in fact due to a "hardware failure" and not cyber crime.

"The brief interruption to our European retail sites last night was due to hardware failure in our European datacentre network and not the result of a [distributed denial of service] attempt," said a spokesperson for the firm.

Amazon stopped hosting Wikileaks material on its servers on 1 December saying the site was breaking its terms and conditions.

As part of its campaign, Anonymous had planned to mount a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Amazon on Friday, but publicly abandoned the plans, saying they did not have the "forces."

"While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in a DDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occurred," read a statement that appeared to be published by the group.

"After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous.

"Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste."

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