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Websites of exiled Burmese news agency hacked

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The websites of Mizzima News, an independent Burmese news agency based in New Delhi, India, were hacked, rendering the websites inaccessible on the early morning of 1 October 2008.

According to Mizzima's webmaster, the attackers took advantage of the sites' code weakness. Even as files from the English and Burmese websites were deleted from the database, and had to be recovered from the back-up, the , and websites were temporarily down.

Although the problems with the, and websites were rectified, the Burmese site, , remained inaccessible as of 1 October.

Although it is not known who is behind the attack, the hacker's internet protocol (IP) is found to have originated from a server in the United States.

Mizzima, however, is still unable to confirm whether the attack is the work of the Burmese military junta, which has banned Mizzima's websites inside the country. Web users bypassing the government's Internet filtering systems with the help of proxy and browsing can access Mizzima's sites. If they are caught, however, they would have to pay a heavy penalty.

"It is hard to tell who is behind the attack but someone who has a special interest could be the culprit or culprits," said Sein Win, managing editor of Mizzima News.

"However, these people should know that this is a criminal offence," he added.

This is not the first time that the websites of Mizzima, as well as other Burmese media groups in exile, including the Chiang Mai-based "Irrawaddy", Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and Bangkok- based "New Era Journal", have been attacked.

In July, the Burmese websites of Mizzima News and the DVB came under a Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attack, causing the sites to become inaccessible for several days.

Similarly, on 24 September, a day before the first anniversary of the 2007 monk-led protests in Burma, three Burmese news agencies in exile, "The Irrawaddy", DVB and "New Era Journal", came under a DDoS attack.

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