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Originally published December 18, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Page modified December 18, 2010 at 9:50 PM

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BofA joins others in refusing WikiLeaks payments

Bank of America has joined several other financial institutions in refusing to handle payments for WikiLeaks, the latest blow to the secret-releasing organization's efforts to continue operating under pressure from governments and the corporate world.

Bank of America has joined several other financial institutions in refusing to handle payments for WikiLeaks, the latest blow to the secret-releasing organization's efforts to continue operating under pressure from governments and the corporate world.

The Charlotte-based bank's move adds to similar actions by MasterCard and PayPal. Though previous moves have prompted reprisals by hackers, Bank of America's site is as well-protected as they come, security experts say.

Its site was problem-free through midafternoon Saturday.

"This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments," the bank said in a statement Saturday. The move was first reported by The Charlotte Observer.

No financial institution can "fully keep the bad guys out," said Rich Mogull, an analyst and CEO with the security-research firm Securosis. But he added that customers shouldn't worry about WikiLeaks supporters plundering their accounts, because the bank has plenty of practice in warding off hackers. Also, previous attacks in support of WikiLeaks haven't targeted customer accounts.

WikiLeaks responded to Bank of America's announcement with a Twitter message urging supporters to stop doing business with the bank.

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