Myanmar’s internet link hit by cyber attack

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - Myanmar’s internet link to the world has been overwhelmed by a massive cyber attack, just days before the country’s first election in two decades, according to US network security firm Arbor Networks.

The so-called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack started in late October, but has grown in the last few days to completely bring down the country’s internet service provider, the ministry of post and telecommunications, Arbor Networks said in a blog posting.

The attack, which could be linked to an attempt to disrupt the country’s Nov 7 election, has spiked internet traffic targeting the country’s network to several hundred times greater than can be handled by Myanmar’s terrestrial and satellite links.

The DDoS attack was attempting to push 10-15 gigabits of data through those connections, which can only support about 45 megabits per second, Arbor Networks’ Craig Labovitz estimated.

DDoS attacks typically utilize virus-laden PCs to bombard service providers with data requests and overwhelm them.

The attack on Myanmar could be the largest DDoS ever targeting a single country, since it was far larger than the attacks on Estonia and Georgia in 2007.

“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,” Labovitz wrote. “At 10-15 Gbps, the Burma attack is also significantly larger than the 2007 Georgia (814 Mbps) and Estonia DDoS.”

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