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Massive DDoS Attack Knocks Burma Offline


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Burma has been offline since Tuesday, when a massive DDoS attack clogged the country's modest 45 Mbps Internet pipeline with junk traffic hitting at a rate of between 10 and 15 Gbps.

Officially known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Asian nation, which has a longstanding history of human rights violations, is currently ruled by a military junta. The country is set to have its first elections in twenty years on November 7.

According to Arbor Networks, a company specializing in DDoS protection and mitigation, Internet connectivity in the country has been intermittent since October 25th, when a series of attacks started.

Tuesday's DDoS against the IP space of the country's main Internet provider, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (PTT), involved multiple attacked vectors like TCP syn and rst flood.

Arbor Networks also reports that the attack traffic had a good distribution, originating from a wide range of IP addresses spread over twenty ISPs.

"At present I do not know the motives for this attack but our past DDoS analysis have observed the gamut from politically motivated DDoS, government censorship, extortion and stock manipulation," said Dr. Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at Arbor Networks.

"At 10-15 Gbps, the Burma attack is also significantly larger than the 2007 Georgia (814 Mbps) and Estonia DDoS. Early this year, Burmese dissident web sites (hosted outside the country) also came under DDoS attacks," he added.

In January 2009, the Internet infrastructure in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan was also severely crippled by DDoS. At the time, observers speculated that it was an attempt to silence critics, who opposed the government's plans to close the U.S. airbase at Manas.

Politically motivated or not, the Burma attacks cause significant harm to the country's tourism business. Travel agencies have already reported that they cannot communicate with foreign customers via email.

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