In what they describe as an "Insurance Release," Wikileaks posted links for a series of encrypted files to their Twitter feed and Facebook page Friday, urging readers to download and mirror the links, in a digital threat they hope will "nullify attempts at restraint."
Though not uncommon, many are speculating that the size of the files—one at an impressive 349 gigabytes—in conjunction with the timing of their release—raises the possibility that these files contain "some serious material."
WikiLeaks releases encrypted versions of upcoming publication data ("insurance") from time to time to nullify attempts at prior restraint.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 17, 2013
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 16, 2013
The secure files can only be accessed with a 'key,' which WikiLeaks will presumably provide to the general public if and when deemed necessary.
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Many note that the links were posted just ahead of the sentencing of Bradley Manning while NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden continues his attempt to evade U.S. prosecution in Russia.
Internet speculation, according to Aja Romano of the online journal The Daily Dot, has decided that "'insurance' may be code for 'back off' to the U.S. government."
"The size of one of the files is 349 gigabytes," Romano notes, "which means that there's either A) enough textual data inside to power a nationwide security crisis for the next 300 years or so, or B) a few very incriminating pieces of video footage."
"I'm getting the feeling these people are spreading some serious material," added Facebook onlooker Angel Gabriell.
Further, Business Insider reports:
We can garner at least one thing of note from the file names alone: They probably have a very high level of encryption. The end of the files, "aes256," likely stands for Advanced Encryption Standard-256 bits.
It's a way of locking up your files that even the NSA has approved for use on top-secret data.