Request mail from Irrawaddy website due to cyber attack; Hoping to defeat hackers soon
Dear Friends and Subscribers,
Our Web site has been crippled and disabled by DDoS attacks since Wednesday.
Many in the Burmese community—both inside and outside Burma—believe that the military authorities are behind the cyber attack. Our Web hosting companies have been assisting us day and night tracing IP addresses to identify the cyber criminals.
If the junta’s paid stooges are indeed involved in these attacks, then we have learned a lesson—that the “powers that be” in Naypyidaw are nowadays well armed and more sophisticated.
Exiled media organizations, including The Irrawaddy, believe that foreign agents and cyber criminals have been hired to attack exiled Burmese Web sites.
We have offered our solidarity to fellow media Web sites, including the Democratic Voice of Burma and New Era Journal. They too have been badly crippled by the DDoS attacks.
However, we are not giving up and we will never give up. This is not a personal attack on the journalists and editors at The Irrawaddy—it is an attack on independent journalism and press freedom. The military junta is determined to prevent the flow of information in and out of Burma.
The attack will only make us more determined to focus on our mission—to bring you the truth from Burma and the region.
We will continue to provide our regular columns and timely news and analysis to you. You can now read The Irrawaddy news at a temporary site: http://theirrawaddy.blogspot.com.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to friends who helped us immediately by providing technical advice and consultancy to recover our site. Our special thanks go to Internews in Chiang Mai and SEAPA in Bangkok. We also would like to thank our readers and colleagues who sent messages of support and advice.
We would like to ask our readers for any support, technical advice or expertise they can lend us. As we are now rebuilding our site, using mirror sites and changing our Web hosting, we would also like to invite interested donors to contribute to our work.
Dear Irrawaddy subscribers,
We regret to inform you that the Irrawaddy Web site is still unavailable due to a severe attack that has also targeted a number of other exiled Burmese media groups.
We attempted to redirect Irrawaddy readers to a mirror site, but that site has also come under attack. Our technicians worked until 2 a.m. to correct the problem, but finally had to take both sites offline.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know when we will be able to return to regular service. We have been informed by the company that hosts our Web site that the attack was severe and sophisticated, and will resume immediately if we attempt to restore service.
As a temporary measure, we will be posting online content on a new blog, http://theirrawaddy.blogspot.com, until further notice. Please visit this site for updated news and other regular features.
For news in Burmese, please visit http://theirrawaddyburmese.blogspot.com.
We have also received reports that Internet speeds in Burma have been very slow since Wednesday, and that Internet cafes in Rangoon have come under heavy surveillance, with police and officials checking customers’ ID cards and monitoring Internet use.
These developments come on the anniversary of last year’s monk-led uprising known as the “Saffron Revolution.” At the height of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, the Burmese regime stopped all Internet traffic into and out of the country to stem the flow of information about atrocities being committed by the army and security forces.
We would like to assure Irrawaddy readers that we will make every effort to keep you informed of the situation inside Burma. We thank you for your patience and continued support.
By SAW YAN NAING
The online news service of The Irrawaddy remained paralyzed by a cyber attack on Friday, although technicians expressed optimism that it would be back in operation by Monday.
Three other Burmese exile news operations that also fell victim to the attack restored their services on Friday, leading to hope that The Irrawaddy Web site would also soon be again accessible.
The attack knocked out The Irrawaddy service on Tuesday and also struck the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma and the New Era Journal, based in Bangkok. All were intermittently put out of action.
The three opposition news services, operated by Burmese exiles, were hit by a “distributed denial-of-service”, or DDoS.
A DDoS attack creates a “traffic jam” at the entry to a Web site as masses of fake, robot “visitors” try to access it.
INET, the second largest host server in Thailand, confirmed that The Irrawaddy Web site, http://www.irrawaddy.org, had been disabled by a DDoS attack since September 17, the day before the 20th anniversary of the mass anti-government demonstrations in Rangoon on September 18.
The CAT Telecom Public Co. Ltd and some ISPs blocked The Irrawaddy Web site as a “danger zone.”
One consultant, who requested anonymity, said: “Usually, it only impacts the targeted Web site, but it is possible that Internet infrastructure will be affected on a wider scale when many Web sites are under attack at the same time on the same national network.”
The Irrawaddy’s “mirror site,” http://www.irrawaddymedia.com, was also disabled by DDoS.
Rangoon visitors to The Irrawaddy Web site reported on Friday that they could access it by setting new proxy servers.
A DDoS attack is orchestrated by an aggressor hiring a hacker who claims the power to control thousands of PCs around the world with the ability of using them to attack a Web site. Fees for the services of the hacker vary according to the size and duration of the attack, but usually start at around US $500, according to one technician.
Win Thu, The Irrawaddy’s office manager, who also oversees its technical team, said the attack that struck the company’s Web site appeared to have been targeted by such a hacker. The nature of DDoS made it likely that the attack would be limited in duration, he said.
Aye Chan Naing, DVB’s chief editor, said his organization received several phone calls and anonymous e-mails two months ago, claiming cyber attackers were Burmese technicians who had trained in Russia.
“The Burmese authorities want to block the flow of information to the outside world,” he said. “But I don’t think they can do it for a long time.”
Exiled media groups, bloggers, reporters inside Burma and citizen journalists played major roles in the reporting on the Buddhist monk-led uprising in September 2007, highlighting the brutal suppression of the monks and their supporters in the streets of Rangoon.
Recently, the regime has tightened its watch over Internet cafes in Rangoon. In some Internet cafes, users have to show their ID, while informers observe students playing video games. Buddhist monks complain that they are treated like criminals if they are seen using the Internet.