Britain on cyber warfare alert as Whitehall prepares for WikiLeaks revenge attacks on Government website

Security chiefs have put Britain on cyber warfare alert after intelligence warnings that hackers are set to launch revenge attacks on Government websites over the WikiLeaks affair.

National Security Adviser Sir Peter Ricketts said hackers would try to steal bank details of taxpayers and benefits claimants.

They are expected to strike if Britain tries to extradite WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange. In Sweden he faces rape charges, and the U.S. is pushing for him to be tried and even executed under espionage laws.

In custody: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in Britain last week and could be extradited

In custody: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in Britain last week and could be extradited

Mr Assange has been in custody in Britain since last week after leaking hundreds of classified U.S. diplomatic cables which have embarrassed governments around the world. He is due to appear in court again today.

So called ‘hacktivists’ allied to the whistleblowing website have already launched cyber attacks on the websites of companies which have withdrawn services from WikiLeaks.

These include Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Downing Street revealed yesterday that Sir Peter, David Cameron’s senior security adviser, was concerned that the hackers will target computer systems operated by HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions.


The release of such information would leave millions vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: ‘The National Security Adviser has spoken to permanent secretaries about the security of Government websites.

'Obviously the priority there would be websites where we are dealing with information that belongs to members of the public.’

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness knew about IRA plans to carry out the biggest bank heist in British history, according to cables released by WikiLeaks yesterday.

The Irish government apparently had ‘rock solid evidence’ that the Sinn Fein leaders were aware in advance of the £26.5million robbery at the Northern Bank in Belfast in December 2004.Yesterday Mr Adams denied the claims.

WikiLeaks yesterday also named a British tycoon as the alleged middleman in one of America’s worst corruption scandals.

Robert Kissin apparently handled a £2.5million payment to help U.S. oil company Baker Hughes win a £137million contract in Kazakhstan. He said there were ‘inaccuracies’ in the story.