Friday, 1 October 2010

Chinese Cyber Attacks on Saffron Revolution Commemoration

Further to our previous post "Massacred Buddhist Monks Commemorated" about the third anniversary of the "Saffron Revolution", it is reported that the Irrawaddy (a newsmagazine published by the Irrawaddy Publishing Group (IPG), founded in 1992 by Burmese exiles living in Thailand) suffered a cyber attack on Monday. (At the time of writing I still could not access the Irrawaddy site!)

The well-organized, massive cyber attacks that shut down The Irrawaddy came largely from Chinese internet provider addresses.

Three websites operated by The Irrawaddy along with websites operated by Mizzima and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) were also shut down. The ongoing attacks—called a Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attack—were more powerful than when The Irrawaddy was attacked in 2008. The attacks coincided with the anniversary of the Saffron Revolution in 2007.

Two weeks ago, unknown hackers who called themselves “Burmese hackers,” visited The Irrawaddy on-line store and left crude messages directed at The Irrawaddy.

One message said: “Due to the unstable political situation and for the good of national reconciliation, we declare cyber war on all government and opposition groups.”

A DDoS attack is defined as an attack in which a multitude of compromised systems attack a single target, thereby causing denial of service for users of the targeted system. A flood of incoming messages to the target system essentially forces it to shut down, thereby denying service to the system by legitimate users.

Toe Zaw Latt, the DVB bureau chief, said, “I think they [attackers] are preparing for the general election. They are now testing it. They may systemically operate the cyber attacks during the elections.”

Burmese journalists in exile have raised concerns about Internet restrictions in Burma as the Nov. 7 general election nears. The government has banned foreign election observers, and it has restricted visas to Westerners who try to enter the country.

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