‘Liberia Still Under Cyber Attack’

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The recent wave of cyber intrusion that hit Liberia in a bid to keep it disconnected from the global network is still continuing with hackers still sending massive volumes of artificial data to block internet links, a press statement from Lonestar Cell MTN said yesterday.

As a result of these cyber activities internet connectivity is slow and in most cases intermittent. This has left many frustrated internet users in Liberia complaining about the services of telecommunications companies.

Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has denied that the country’s internet access was interrupted by malicious cyber activities. “Monitoring systems on the nation’s internet exchange point, where domestic traffic joins the global network, showed no evidence that the link had been overwhelmed,” Jarsea Burphy, LTA spokesperson said in a statement.

According to its statement, Lonestar Cell MTN, one of the country’s leading providers, is reporting repeated cyber-attacks in the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) from hackers. It may be recalled that the company in a statement recently called on the government to investigate the cause of the attacks.

“We are calling on the Government through its security apparatus to institute immediate investigation into the matter as these DDOS attacks amount to economic sabotage. We also call on the LTA to ensure that Liberia urgently joins Africa CERT, an organization that protects countries around Africa against cyber threats,” the release said.

These DDOS attacks, the statement added, are undermining government’s revenue intake and denying Lonestar Cell MTN subscribers adequate services.

The Government of Liberia needs to take the call made by Lonestar Cell MTN seriously as these attackers have the ability to spread their activities to businesses, including banks, and other government entities.

Cyber-attacks are fast becoming a global issue, and must not be taken lightly in Liberia. The attacks on Liberia captured the pages of many anti-cyber sites and multiple international wires. The BBC reported recently that “Liberia has been repeatedly cut off from the internet by hackers targeting its only link to the global network. The attacks were the first to send overwhelming amounts of data from weakly protected devices, such as webcams and digital video recorders that had been enrolled into what is known as a botnet. A botnet variant called Mirai was identified by security firms as being the tool used to find and compromise the insecure devices. The source code for Mirai has been widely shared and many malicious hacker groups have used it to seek out vulnerable devices they can take over and use to mount what are known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks,” according to the press statement.

The government needs to go beyond denial and ensure that these activities are curtailed as service providers and Liberians are still complaining of intermittent denial of internet services, the statement noted.

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