Burmese internet taken down with DDoS attack

A large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack has taken Burma’s (Myanmar)s  internet services down, causing intense speculation as to whether it was a government censorship programme or an outside attack.

For several days Myanmar’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, the country’s primary internet provider, endured a sustained DDoS attack which ended most incoming and outgoing internet traffic in the country. The Myanmar Times reported that the attacks began on October 25.

It is not clear who is behind the attack, but many eyes are on the Myanmar government itself. In 2007 the government cut the country’s internet connections as a way to crack down on political unrest. With general elections to be held soon on November 7, some people believe the government could be axing the internet connections to prevent opposition material being circulated online.

Security firm Arbor Networks estimated that the DDoS was between 10 and 15 Gb/s, which would be plenty to overwhelm the country’s 45Mb/s T3 terrestrial and satellite links. The attack also involved dozens of individual components attacking multiple IP addresses and originated from over 20 different providers.

This attack marks one of the largest against a country, much moreso than similar attacks in 2007 against Georgia and Estonia. 

Arbor Networks was not sure what motivated the attack, but believes that politics, censorship, extortion, or stock manipulation are likely candidates. Myanmar dissident websites, which are hosted outside the country, were also taken down with DDoS attacks earlier this year, suggesting a potential link between the two.