Bank of America cuts services for WikiLeaks

Move comes as WikiLeaks threatens to reveal unethical bank practices

Bank of America has joined the growing list of financial and technology companies that have cut off services to WikiLeaks, a move that comes amid speculation that the whistleblower site is preparing to release information about the bank.

"Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks," the bank said in a statement issued Friday. "This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments," the bank said.

The reaction from WikiLeaks, which on November 28 sparked global controversy by presenting a cache of 250,000 leaked U.S. embassy cables, was swift. "Does your business do business with Bank of America?" said a twitter message from WikiLeaks late Friday. "Our advise is to place your funds somewhere safer."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in an interview with CNBC Friday that WikiLeaks would soon release information about banks. In an interview with Forbes magazine last month, he said WikiLeaks was prepared to reveal information on a bank that would show "unethical practices."

In the recent interviews, Assange did not name a speficic bank, but in an IDG News Service interview last year, he said "we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives."

At that time, Assange said WikiLeaks was mulling over how to present the data. "It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."

Wikileaks' recent release of U.S. embassy cables sparked anger from governments and a rash of attacks between WikiLeaks detractors and supporters.

Amid the controversy, Amazon Web Services (AWS) knocked WikiLeaks from its servers for breaking the service's rules about content that could injure others. PayPal and credit card institutions halted payment services for WikiLeaks.

Financial institutions declining services to the financial organizations were then hit with pro-WikiLeaks denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Assange's personal life, meanwhile, has been under scrutiny. Assange is wanted for questioning by the Swedish government regarding sexual assault allegations from two women related to incidents in August in the country. He was detained earlier this month in the U.K. after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest. The U.K. High Court ruled that Assange could be freed on £240,000 (US$374,000) in bail, pending a January extradition hearing.

The U.S. Attorney General's office is investigating Assange in relation to the release of the U.S. embassy cables, but has yet to charge him.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and serviceswikileaksmastercardpaypalfinanceindustry verticalsinternetdata protectionintrusionBank of Americasecurity

More about Amazon Web ServicesCNBCIDGNBCPayPalVisa

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Marc Ferranti

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place