Thai government websites went offline on Wednesday in either a politically motivated DDoS attack or due to poorly designed websites falling over in response to an astonishing increase in visitors. The outage was fixed on Thursday, as protests about proposals to tighten net censorship in Thailand continued.
The BBC claimed targets of the attacks included the ministry of information, communications and technology (ICT) and the main Thai government portal at thaigov.go.th.
Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition protesting against a proposal to present a system known as the “Great Firewall of Thailand” by critics. Marc Gaffan, VP and GM at Imperva commented, “Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks have become a weapon of choice for activists of all kinds around the world. Activist groups, and hacktivist groups like Anonymous and others, have attacked US and Canadian governments, so it's no surprise that a wider range of global activists are attempting this approach.
This news from Asia follows the historic US-China cyber-security agreement reached a few days ago which some hope will decommission the ‘Great Cannon'—China's cyber-weapon used to take websites offline with massive denial of service attacks. While the weapon cannot be used to steal intellectual property directly, it does have a significant, negative economic impact by bringing down service businesses, as seen with GitHub earlier this year.
The Thai military government has boosted its efforts to block websites and pursue online critics, with criminal proceedings being issued in recent months. Thailand is planning to incorporate a single government-controlled gateway to further control access to inappropriate websites.
Thai people were inspired through social media protests to visit the named websites and refresh them again and again. The effect seems to have been a type of hand-cranked DDoS.