AP NEWS

Ecuador reports 40 million cyberattacks in days since ejecting Julian Assange from embassy

April 16, 2019

Ecuador has endured an onslaught of cyberattacks since punting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from its London embassy last week, government officials said Monday.

Patricio Real, Ecuador’s deputy minister of telecommunications, said that government computers were on the receiving end of some 40 million hacking attempts in the aftermath of Quito cutting ties Thursday with Mr. Assange.

“During the afternoon of April 11 we jumped from 51st place to 31st place worldwide in terms of the volume of cyberattacks,” said Mr. Real, regional media reported.

The attacks were launched at targets including the offices of Ecuador’s president, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and central bank, among others, said Mr. Real, El Universo reported.

Quito did not immediately attribute the cyberattacks to any actors in particular.

Javier Jara, another official within the Ecuador telecommunications ministry, described the attacks as “volumetric” in size and said that the government had received threats from “groups related to Julian Assange,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Mr. Assange, an Australian native, entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 seeking asylum amid the U.S. Department of Justice probing his website’s publication of classified U.S. government documents. He subsequently received protection and resided inside the embassy for nearly seven years prior to being forcefully removed last week as a result of having his status revoked.

The Justice Department formally charged Mr. Assange, 47, moments after his eviction from the Ecuadorian Embassy. He is jailed in London and behind bars pending possible extradition.