Wikileaks and simplicity – the technology behind the mirrors and Julian Assange’s thermonuclear device

Wikileaks is rocking the world media. Few hours earlier I read a retweet by Famita Bhutto about 208 new mirrors (copies of wiki website) of wikileaks. This is Streisand_effect in action:

The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no contrary action had been attempted.

Any way I got interested how they have quickly setup so many mirrors all around the world. It turns out that wikileaks guys have resorted to the simplest possible technology. All the content is just html, css and images. No scripting language, frameworks, databases or any complicated configurations have been used.

To setup a mirror, you just need a bare bone Linux (yes, any flavor, any version) server with a public IP and apache web server, something which a newbie Linux admin can setup. Once you have such a server available, you just add wikileaks ssh public key (to allow them to push data to your server) and add your server details on this form.

From now onwards, the wikileaks servers will start pumping all the data to your server using Linux rsync command, adding, updating, and deleting as required. Simplicity at its best.

The interesting thing is that every thing is automated. From a technology point of view this is such a simple yet working architecture which shaking governments around the globe. With this setup they can setup thousands of additional mirrors without additional effort.

Julian Assange’s thermonuclear device

This is even more interesting. Julian Assange, wikileaks founder, has distributed a 1.3 GB file to 10’s of thousands of people around the world through file sharing services (torrents etc.) This file contains every thing he has got (including most top secret information) but not released on the web page. You can download this file but cannot see what is inside. This file is encrypted with 256bit AES key.

Mr. Assange threatens that if he is forcibly brought to trial, he would release the 256bit AES encryption key. This will instantly enable file owners to view top secret information which will literally shake the world.

So it is a safe bet that Julian Assange is safe. 🙂

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