IntSights, the threat intelligence company focused on enabling enterprises to Defend Forward, released a research report that dives into the cyber threat landscape of Myanmar today. The threat brief examines how the political developments and digital crackdowns in the past few months have driven citizen and opposition movement toward anonymous channels to communicate.
With more than 68 million mobile users in Myanmar, IntSights researchers found that the demand for VPNs and alternative methods of communication has skyrocketed and new methods to overcome internet access issues are emerging daily, including the increasing popular use of mesh network apps that use Bluetooth – like Bridgefy and FireChat. Many citizens are also taking to the Tor browser to access the dark web to circumvent the internet blocks and restrictions imposed by the government and find private communication channels to securely share information with one another, and mostly to seek a sense of normalcy.
The crackdowns gave rise to international hacktivist efforts to launch cyberwarfare operations including hacking and defacing the Myanmar government and Myanmar police force official websites. Hackers also exploited multiple vulnerabilities on public Myanmar websites and attacked an API endpoint that listed emails of all users with access to create a new user with admin privileges to gain entry, subsequently gathering and leaking financial records and information.
In terms of social media and messaging apps, IntSights found:
- Facebook is an active domain for those speaking out, including hacker and hacktivist groups. While most activity posted by these groups appears to be low-level defacements, there are a few showing root access to victim systems
- End-to-end encrypted instant messaging application, Telegram, and invitation-only audio chat application, Clubhouse, are popular tools for private communication to avoid the authorities’ surveillance efforts