Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WikiLeaks: James Bond-style nuclear bunker hosts servers in Stockholm

On a main street in one of Stockholm's hippest areas, a snow-covered hill topped by a church conceals a nuclear-proof bunker, home to a futuristic data centre holding 8,000 servers - two of which belong to WikiLeaks

Code-named 'pionen' (Swedish for the peony flower) the bunker was first designed in the mid-1940s, then refurbished as a nuclear-attack proof civilian defence shelter at the height of the Cold War. But the place looks like something straight out of a science-fiction or espionage film, reflecting the secretive character of its most talked-about tenant, WikiLeaks' leader Julian Assange

A visitor enters the data hall through sliding glass doors, engulfed in the steam caused by the evacuated heat of the servers, on the side of Vita Berget (The White Mountain) in a trendy corner of the Soedermalm borough of Stockholm

Once inside, the heat and humidity are stifling as a slightly slanted ramp leads into the hall itself, the wall flanked by tropical plants that would never survive the chilly temperatures outside

Submarine engines are used as emergency generators (above). "We are very well protected for physical attacks, but that is not going to happen. The real threat is maybe legal and probably cyber attacks," says Karlung

The vault buzzes with the sounds of the servers and the fans needed to cool them down

"All the global fuss is made about two little boxes," said Jon Karlung (above), chairman and founder of Bahnhof, one of the companies providing server space to the whistleblowing website. The servers are kept in a locked white cabinet along with rows and rows of others in a large room with stone walls - it has been carved directly into the mountain

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now sitting in jail in London pending a hearing on extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations

by Telegraph

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