Lonestar Cell MTN has revealed that it is experiencing unprecedented and repeated cyber-attacks in the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) from hackers.
The situation has caused intermittent service disruptions in the delivery of the company’s data and other services.
The company in a statement said it is profoundly disturbed to find its competitors treading on such unorthodox practice that could have far reaching national security and economic implications.
“For the past weeks, we noticed a constant build-up of artificial volumes of data on our internet links. These artificial volumes are caused by malicious cyber activities that target our system with the aim of clogging or blocking connectivity in the network.
“However, we continue to react and restore service to each incident as it happens. From all indications, these attacks are only directed at Lonestar in the telecommunications sector and they have serious national security and economic implications,” the Lonestar statement said.
Meanwhile, Lonestar, with support from the MTN Group, has secured the services of Arbor International, a credible international anti-cyber attack firm that is providing permanent solution to the attacks in a bid to ensure that the full protection of its customers is kept as a matter of priority.
The international anti-cyber-attack firm, Arbor International, has confirmed in a research report that such attacks usually emanate from hackers and criminals financed by competitors.
However, this developing global threat, which is only directed at Lonestar in the West African region, is becoming a serious international concern.
Recently, Israeli law enforcement arrested Yarden Bidani and Itay Huri as part of a United States FBI investigation into their alleged control of vDOS, one of the most popular paid attack platforms. The two teens were reported to have been paid over USD618, 000 to knock websites offline.
Lonestar Cell MTN is pleading to the Liberian authorities to take this issue seriously, because this threat could affect other financial institutions.
The cellular network provider is calling on the government through its security apparatus to institute immediate investigation into the matter as these DDOS attacks amount to economic sabotage and calls on the LTA to ensure that Liberia urgently joins Africa CERT, an organization setup to protect countries around Africa against cyber threats.
These DDOS attacks, the statement added, were undermining government revenue intake and denying Lonestar subscribers of adequate services.
Lonestar has meanwhile reassured its many subscribers that they are guaranteed the best service in the sector as this situation is being handled.
“All the necessary preparations are being concluded to launch the best and most efficient internet service that will give our customers superior internet experience as they continue to explore the Bold New Digital World,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, according to a report by Joshua Philipp of Epoch Times, on the situation case, major websites including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Reddit, and others sputtered out on Oct. 21, as the cyberattack with record-breaking power brought down Dyn, an internet infrastructure company that, among other services, provides domain name services to keep websites running.
The attack should have actually been expected—and we can expect similar attacks to follow in the future.
An unknown group of hackers launched the attack with a new form of malware known as Mirai, which was posted on the internet on Oct. 1 for anyone to download and use. As Epoch Times reported on Oct. 6, the malware allows just about anyone to launch attacks capable of bringing down portions of the internet.
Mirai is unique in how it pulls its strength for attacks. It infects a massive network of devices connected to the internet—such as baby monitors, security cameras, and Wi-Fi thermostats—and uses processing power from these devices to overwhelm internet servers with fake traffic, forcing them offline.
A movement is now underway to secure devices used in the attacks, often called internet-of-things (IoT) devices, which often have little or no built-in security to guard against hackers.
The Mirai malware will only lose steam as the unknowing owners of the infected devices toss them out or replace them with newer ones.
A U.S. government agency is now working with law enforcement, the private sector, and the research community to “develop ways to mitigate against this and other related malware,” said Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in an Oct. 24 statement about the Mirai malware’s role in the Dyn attack.