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Websites of news agencies in exile attacked on eve of Saffron Revolution anniversary

(Mizzima/IFEX) - On the eve of the first anniversary of the week-long Saffron Revolution, the websites of three leading Burmese news agencies in exile have come under attack, rendering them inaccessible since the afternoon of 17 September 2008.

Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks overwhelmed the websites of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), "The Irrawaddy" magazine and the "New Era Journal". Under DDoS attacks, websites are flooded with so many automated requests for data that their systems effectively get jammed.

The websites of the three Burmese news agencies have not been responding to their requests since the afternoon of 17 September.

"It is pretty certain that we are under attack. We were attacked at about 11 a.m. (local time) today," Toe Zaw Latt, chief of DVB Thailand bureau told Mizzima.com, an alerts partner of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). Mizzima, which is also an independent news service run by exiled Burmese in New Delhi, India, also experienced a similar DDoS attack in July.

"The Irrawaddy" magazine, an independent news provider run by Burmese journalists exiled in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said its website has been facing problems since the evening of 16 September. "We can confirm today (18 September) that we are being attacked," Aung Zaw, editor-in-chief of "The Irrawaddy" told Mizzima.

The Bangkok-based "New Era Journal" also confirmed that its website is under attack.

This is the second attack against the Oslo-based DVB in the past three months. The DVB's webmaster said it is difficult to determine the level of the attack, adding that they could not predict when the sites will be accessible again. "We do not know who is behind all this, but it is certain that these are deliberate attacks," Toe Zaw Latt said.

Mizzima noted, meanwhile, that the speed of the Internet was also down in Rangoon from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on 17 September. As a result, several Internet cafes in downtown Yangon reportedly had to close. Sources said the Internet connection only resumed its regular speed at 6:00 p.m.

September 18 marks the anniversary of the beginning of street protests in Yangon, which built up to a violent military crackdown in Burma in 2007. Burmese journalists, both inside and outside the country, have been worried about how Burma's junta might deal with the anniversary of what has come to be known as the "Saffron Revolution".

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