Editor's note: In a tweet, WikiLeaks urged supporters to "stop taking down the US internet," saying Julian Assange is still alive and the organization is still publishing. Earlier this week, Ecuador's government said it partly restricted internet access for Assange, who has been living at the country's London embassy. WikiLeaks has been publishing emails connected to Hillary Clinton campaign, and U.S. officials believe Russia is tied to the hack. Officials have not said who is responsible for Friday's attacks on Dyn's DNS infrastructure, which is causing widespread disruption. However, an intelligence official told NBC News it is unlikely these are state sponsored attacks. - Stephanie
Editor's note: WikiLeaks has published emails from 2008 that claim to show an email address used by Barack Obama before he was sworn in as president. The emails come from the Wikileaks release of purported John Podesta emails. Podesta was a co-chair of Obama's transition team and served as a counselor to the president. He is now the chair of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. - Stephanie
WikiLeaks/ˈwɪkiliːks/ is an international non-profit journalistic organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press, claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief, and director. Kristinn Hrafnsson, Joseph Farrell, and Sarah Harrison are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Julian Assange. Hrafnsson is also a member of Sunshine Press Productions along with Assange, Ingi Ragnar Ingason, and Gavin MacFadyen.
The group has released a number of significant documents that have become front-page news items. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya. In April 2010, WikiLeaks published gunsight footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed by an AH-64 Apache helicopter, known as the Collateral Murder video. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan not previously available to the public. In October 2010, the group released a set of almost 400,000 documents called the "Iraq War Logs" in coordination with major commercial media organisations. This allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in "significant" attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
In November 2010, WikiLeaks collaborated with major global media organisations to release U.S. State Department diplomatic "cables" in redacted format. On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks' huge archive of unredacted U.S. State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it. WikiLeaks blamed the breach on its former publication partner, the UK newspaper The Guardian, and that newspaper's journalist David Leigh, who revealed the key in a book published in February 2011. The Guardian argued that WikiLeaks was to blame since they had given the impression that the encrypted file was temporary, taking it offline seven months before the book was published. The German periodical Der Spiegel reported a more complex story involving errors on both sides. The incident resulted in widely expressed fears that the information released could endanger people.