I skimmed an article on this earlier today, and didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking “eh, some tin-pot in another far-flung dictatorship’s up for “re-election” and wants to insulate the country from the rest of the world so his influence peddaling goes un-noticed”. When my boss comes up to me and asks if I’m aware, I know that I had better be paying attention to more than whether we have an office there or not…
This is certainly a massive DDoS attack, estimated at between 10 – 15 Gigabytes per second of bandwidth being focused on the country’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, the main conduit for Internet traffic in and out of the authoritarian nation. It has effectively cut Internet connectivity in Myanmar, just 3 days before the nation’s first election in 20 years.
Slow connections and occasional outages were being reported for more than a week, but today network traffic was completely halted, according to BBC reports. Web service providers said outside attackers were to blame, but some residents suspect the military-ruled nation’s government is behind it all.
Britain, the United States and the European Union maintain long standing economic sanctions against Myanmar to pressure the military government to improve human rights and release over 2,000 political prisoners. Foreign journalists have not been allowed into Myanmar to cover the polls, criticized by the west as a ploy to maintain the military’s control. British ambassador Andrew Heyn said the vote was a “badly missed opportunity” offering no hope for democratic change. With increasing tension, the government has canceled voting in 3,400 villages in ethnic areas and has increased its military presence throughout the countryside.
The military has ruled Myanmar, earlier known as Burma, since 1962, and the international community believes that harsh restrictions on campaigning, the repression of opposition parties and the new constitution reflect the military’s intention to continue its commanding role.