NAYPYITAW (AFP) – Hackers attacked Myanmar government websites yesterday to protest against the military coup, as the junta pressed on with its attempts to stymie nationwide opposition with internet blockades and troop deployments.
The cyber-attacks came a day after tens of thousands of people rallied across the country to protest against the generals toppling Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government earlier this month.
A group called Myanmar Hackers disrupted websites including the Central Bank, the Myanmar military’s propaganda page, state-run broadcaster MRTV, the Port Authority, and the Food and Drug Administration.
“We are fighting for justice in Myanmar,” the group said on its Facebook page. “It is like mass protesting of people in front of government websites.”
Cybersecurity expert Matt Warren from Australia’s RMIT University said it was likely the aim was to generate publicity.
“The sorts of attacks they would be undertaking are denial of service attacks or defacing websites which is called hacktivism,” he told AFP. “The impact will be potentially limited but what they are doing is raising awareness.”
Internet access was severely curtailed for the fourth night running at about 1am yesterday (1830 GMT Wednesday), according to NetBlocks, a Britain-based group that monitors internet outages around the world.
It said connectivity had dropped to just 21 percent of ordinary levels, and was restored eight hours later ahead of the start of the working day.
“The practice is detrimental to public safety and incites confusion, fear and distress in difficult times,” NetBlocks tweeted.
For a second day, some motorists in Yangon blockaded roads with vehicles, leaving their bonnets up and pretending they were broken down to stop security forces from moving around Myanmar’s biggest city.
Buses and cars could be seen on live feeds parked around a bridge at North Dagon on Thursday morning, as protesters chanted: “Don’t attend the office, leave it. Join the civil disobedience movement.”