Liberia denies internet disruption claim

CCTV camera

Liberia’s telecoms authority has denied reports that the country’s internet access has been disrupted by a large-scale hack attack.

Reports last week said that cyber-attacks had repeatedly overwhelmed this link making net access intermittent.

The authority said there was “no data to substantiate” the claim.

But it said one telecommunications company serving half the nation’s mobile users did suffer attacks that repeatedly limited access.

No downtime

Security experts who monitor networks of hijacked devices used to carry out attacks, called botnets, noticed last week that Liberian net addresses were among targets being deluged with data.

Media reports quoted network security firms outside the country and telecoms staff in Liberia who said internet access in the country was affected.

The attacks were mounted using the massive Mirai botnet that in late October was used to cause the web-wide disruption that left Reddit, Spotify, Twitter and other popular sites hard to reach.

Jarsea Burphy, a spokewoman for the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, said 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.

The monitoring systems showed “no downtime in the last three weeks” she told the BBC.

Ms Burphy said a single local operator, believed to be the Lonestar Cell mobile network, had been subject to intermittent web attacks that had affected its ability to provide net access.

Lonestar, which has a 50% market share, told news site All Africa that it had been hit by so-called Distributed Denial of Service attacks that sought to overwhelm its network.

“We have continued to react and restore service to each incident as it happens,” it said.

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