‘We Lost Tens of Millions’

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Babatunde Osho was CEO of Lonestar Cell MTN at the time of the DDOS cyber attack perpetrated by Daniel Kaye.

-Says Lonestar former CEO, Babatunde Osho

The former chief executive officer of Lonestar Cell GSM, Babatunde Osho said as a result of the DDOS attacks, Lonestar has suffered and continued to suffer a substantial loss in the value of its business and a loss of profits.

In his written submissions to the court, Mr. Osho said those losses have arisen because Lonestar’s customers were unable to use Lonestar’s services during the DDOS attacks.

Further, as a result of the DDOS attacks, the former Lonestar CEO said a substantial number of Lonestar’s customers switched to Lonestar competitors.

Osho claimed that there was substantially less usage of Lonestar’s cellular communication and internet services by those customers who have remained with Lonestar, and Lonestar had a substantially lower level of new subscription to its cellular communication and internet services than it would have, but for the DDOS attacks.

In his submissions to the court, Lonestar’s former chief executive, said Kaye’s criminality had been devastating.

“The DDOS perpetrated by Daniel Kaye seriously compromised Lonestar’s ability to provide a reliable internet connection to its customers,” said Mr Osho.

“In turn, Mr. Kaye’s actions prevented Lonestar’s customers from communicating with each other, obtaining access to essential services and carrying out their day-to-day business activities.

“A substantial number of Lonestar’s customers switched to competitors.

“In the years preceding the DDOS attacks, Lonestar’s annual revenue exceeded US$80 million.

Since the attacks, Lonestar’s annual revenue and Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) have decreased by tens of millions, and its current liabilities have increased by tens of millions.”

He added that Lonestar has also incurred expenses in resisting the DDOS attacks, mitigating the effects of the DDOS attacks and investigating Mr. Kaye’s wrongdoing.

“For example, Lonestar had to call upon additional staff and third-party contractors to assist during the DDOS attacks. Lonestar also had to purchase additional equipment to mitigate the effects of the DDOS attacks. I estimate that these expenses in resisting the DDOS attacks amount to at least US$600,000,” Osho lamented in his written document.

“This statement is made by me in relation to the impacts of distributed denial of services (DDOS) attacks carried out by Daniel Kaye against Lonestar between around 2015 and around February 2017. Given that I was CEO at the time of the attacks, I am in position to give evidence that is admissible in court about the impact of the crime on the business,” he noted.

According to court papers, Kaye was hired in 2015 to attack Lonestar, Liberia’s leading mobile phone and Internet Company, by an individual working for Cellcom, its competitor.

There is no suggestion that Cellcom knew what the employee was doing – but the individual offered Kaye up to $10,000 (£7,800) a month to use his skills to do as much as possible to destroy Lonestar’s service and reputation.

Robin Sellers, prosecuting, told Blackfriars Crown Court that in November 2016 Kaye had built a “botnet” – a particularly powerful form of cyber-attack that is designed to overwhelm a target’s systems, making it impossible to carry out normal business.

This type of attack is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS). It is different to a ransom demand that locks up systems, such as the “Wannacry” attack on the British National Health Service (NHS).

1 COMMENT

  1. As an IT professional, I am shocked to learn that the management of Lonestar didn’t plan for the risk of DDOS attack. It was a failure of leadership of the CEO, no doubt. DDOS attacks are very common and because you operate in a low-tech country doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for such an event.

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