Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mizzima website under attack

Mizzima News Tuesday, 29 July 2008

New Delhi — The Burmese website of Mizzima News, a Burmese Independent News Agency based in New Delhi, has come under persistent and severe Distributed Denial of Services attack causing the website to become inaccessible since Sunday.

The DDoS attacks flood the communication channel of Mizzima's servers with data up to the extent that the site can no longer handle.

According the Mizzima's webmaster, a DDoS attack is an attempt to disable a website, by overwhelming the site with information requests so that it cannot respond to regular traffic.

Mizzima website received more than five Gigabytes of data in less than 15 minutes, many times more than it usually receive, said the webmaster adding that the enormous amount of information received is more than the site can handle.

While, technically, the origin of the attack is impossible to trace, Mizzima's friend, a technocrat who monitors the site, said the attack is clearly targeted.

He said, while this is not the first attempt, there had been plenty of attempts t intrusion from servers in China, Russia and Hungary. At least 30 servers are involved in the case of the attack on the Mizzima Burmese website, he added.

Mizzima News Agency, run by Burmese journalists, is an independent Burmese multi-media group focusing on Burma and related news and issues, and maintains four different websites –,,,

Besides updated daily news both in English and Burmese, Mizzima also Podcast video stories on its site, which are frequently picked up by other news organizations.

Both Mizzima's Burmese and English site normally attract an average of 10,000 to 15,000 unique visitors per day but the readership suddenly jumped to hundred thousands during the September protests in Burma last year and in the month of May and June 2008, following the killer Cyclone Nargis' hitting the country.

While it is difficult to determine who is behind the recent attack, with intrusion attempts coming from servers in China, Russia, Hungary, the Burmese military junta, which has several of its technocrats and engineers studying in these countries, could be behind the attack.

Burma's military rulers have banned Mizzima's sites in Burma and bypassing the government's internet filtering systems with the use of proxy and browsing the Mizzima's sites, if caught, could lead to users paying a heavy penalty.

Mizzima, however, is not the only Burmese news organization to have recently suffered such attacks. The Oslo based Democratic Voice of Burma's website also came under similar attack since July 20.

In a statement released on Friday, the DVB deputy executive director, Khin Maung Win said the attacker is trying to shut-down the DVB's site from the internet as the attack has been getting more severe and persistent over the last four days.

"And we are still under attack," said Khin Maung Win.

"Technically, it is of course difficult to say who is behind the attack. But we can easily say that Burmese government is behind this attack," Khin Maung Win said.