2010 cyberattacks on Burma

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The 2010 cyberattacks on Myanmar were distributed denial-of-service attacks that began on 25 October,[1] occurring ahead of the Burmese general election, 2010, which is widely viewed as a sham election.[2][3] The attacks were significantly larger than attacks against Estonia and Georgia in 2007 and 2008 respectively.[4] The attack followed a similar one on 1 February 2010,[5] and total loss of connection to the internet the previous spring when a submarine communications cable was severed accidentally.[6]

Attacks beginning October 25, 2010[edit]

Over the period of a week, a large-scale massive DDoS attack targeted Burma's main Internet provider, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication. Successful attacks to this network interfered with the majority of all incoming and outgoing network traffic.

The motivation for the attacks, and hence the culprits, were unclear, but there was significant speculation that blamed the Burmese government for a pre-emptive attack to disrupt Internet access just before the general elections.

Earlier that year in September, coinciding with the anniversary of the 2007 monk-led protests, (during which internet access was also restricted[7]), other websites belonging to independent and opposition news sites and blogs were brought down by similar, but less powerful, DDoS attacks.[8]

Technical details[edit]

A DDoS attack attempts to flood an information gateway with data exceeding its bandwidth. The size of the October–November 2010 attacks increased daily from 0.5 to 10-15 Gbit/s, each daily attack lasting over eight hours (always during regular office hours), from computers across the globe. This was several hundred times more than enough to overwhelm the country's 45 Mbps T3 terrestrial and satellite links.[9] Attacks on blogging websites in September were also on the order of Gbps.[8]

By comparison, the 2007 cyberattacks on Estonia were at most 90 Mbit/s, lasting between a minute to over 10 hours.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Internet out hits tourism sector". Myanmar Times. November 1, 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Clegg, Nick (3 Oct 2010). "Myanmar's Sham Election". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Protesters in Japan decry Myanmar 'sham election' plan". Channel News Asia. 27 Oct 2010. Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Burma hit by massive net attack ahead of election". BBC News. 4 November 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Feng, Yingqiu (November 3, 2010). "Myanmar Internet link continues to meet with interruption". People's Daily. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Seltzer, Larry (11.04.2010). "DDoS Attack on Myanmar Takes the Country Offline". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Nizza, Mike (2007-09-28). "Burmese Government Clamps Down on Internet". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Wade, Francis (September 29, 2010). "Scale of cyber attacks 'rare and serious'". Democratic Voice of Burma. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Labovitz, Craig (November 3, 2010). "Attack Severs Burma Internet". Arbor Networks. Retrieved 4 November 2010.