Internet users Wednesday night protested the plans for a single gateway by attacking and bringing down the main websites of the prime minister, the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
Communications experts said “denial of service” attacks flooded the three sites, effectively making them impossible to access.
The sites began to recover early Wednesday.
The three sites went offline at about 10pm Wednesday, after netizens warned they intended to attack, and the government said such attacks would be treated as violations of the Computer Crime Act.
The ICT deputy permanent secretary, Somsak Khaosuwan, claimed his ministry’s site did not crash because of an attack, but because it was overloaded by visitors monitoring the planned attack.
Sites affected as of early Wednesday were the main government information website thaigov.go.th, the ICT ministry’s site at mict.go.th and the defence ministry’s website, mod.go.th.
By early Wednesday, however, only the MICT site remained inaccessible, possibly because authorities had actually taken it offline.
Warnings on Wednesday afternoon from credible sources in the Thai hacking community said they planned to attack government websites to protest the recent disclosure of government plans to reduce internet access to a single gateway, controlled by CAT Telecom Co.
It appeared that the government site takedowns were by internet users, who answered calls on social media to go on online and continuously click refresh, causing overloads on the three targeted sites.
The simultaneous denial-of-service attack works like normal attacks by over-exceeding a website’s capacity to handle internet traffic.
But whereas normal attacks are carried out by a program or bot, Wednesday night’s protest was carried out by thousands of online users.
After the secret plan was accidentally disclosed by a government press release, authorities sent out Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Junthong to try to spin the plan. He said that the single gateway initiative was only a proposition and that no “firm decisions have been made.”
Critics of the plan idea contend it will take away freedom of information, with some even comparing it to the tightened grip of a communist country.
A change.org petition opposing the single gateway initiative passed 100,000 signatures as of Wednesday.