Myanmar cut off the Internet ahead of elections

The Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been practically cut off the Internet as an extensive DDoS attack that started in late October has crippled most network traffic in and out of the country.

According to Craig Labovitz, Burmese T3 terrestial and satellite links have a 45 Mbps throughput, and they are currently being inundated with traffic that – at certain moments – reaches 15 Gbps.

“While DDoS against e-commerce and commercial sites are common (hundreds per day), large-scale geo-politically motivated attacks — especially ones targeting an entire country — remain rare with a few notable exceptions,” he says. “At 10-15 Gbps, the Burma attack is also significantly larger than the 2007 Georgia (814 Mbps) and Estonia DDoS.”

It is still unknown who is behind the attacks. Speculation abounds that the Burmese government might have something to do with it since the first general elections in 20 years are to be held in two days, and the military junta currently in power is probably unwilling to hand it over as much as it was two decades ago.

It is thought that the government is trying to minimize the availability of news from inside the country in order to keep the world at large of finding out about likely breaches of the election process. This theory is backed by the fact that foreign media are not allowed in the country to cover the election.

The government, of course, says that the attack is organized by external attackers with still unknown motives.

More about

Don't miss