‘State actor’ shuts down internet access to Julian Assange, Wikileaks claims

17 Oct 2016

The Ecuadorian embassy in London where Julian Assange is seeking asylum. Image: Chris Harvey/Shutterstock

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – currently seeking asylum in the London Ecuadorian embassy – has had his internet access cut off, with his organisation claiming a ‘state actor’ was behind it.

For the past four years, Julian Assange has remained within the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He and his organisation fear that an extradition to his native Sweden over sexual assault claims could see him sent again to the US to face challenges of spreading sensitive documents.

With nowhere to go, Assange has continued his work with Wikileaks remotely, the most recent effort being the major salvo of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The emails have proved to be a thorn in the side of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, with many of the leaked emails coming from the account of John Podesta, chairperson of her campaign.

Now, Wikileaks has taken to Twitter to reveal that Assange has lost access to the internet, claiming that a ‘state actor’ was behind the unexplained shutdown.

Assange not dead

According to the BBC, the claim that Assange has been taken offline has not been confirmed by the Ecuadorian embassy, which has refused to comment.

However, Wikileaks has only spoken so far as to say that it has “activated the appropriate contingency plans” to deal with a possible cyberattack.

A few hours prior to the Assange tweet, three tweets were published on the Wikileaks account that appeared to make little sense, aside from being connected to Ecuador, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth Office.

These tweets also contained three 64-character codes that appeared to have no meaning, but the imagination of Twitter users saw some come to the conclusion that the code was a “dead man’s switch” to be used in case Assange was killed.

While this does not seem to be the case based on Wikileaks’ latest claims, Assange is one of the US’s most wanted individuals considering claims that he and his organisation are publishing hacked materials obtained by the Russian government.

Ecuadorian embassy in London. Image: Chris Harvey/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic