The Commissioner of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), Angelique Weeks, has termed as “untrue” reports from international news outlets that cyber attacks on Liberia brought the country’s internet systems to a grinding halt.
Several international media outlets including the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) reported that the entire internet infrastructure of Liberia has been brought to a grinding halt after it was targeted by hackers using the same weapon that caused the largest cyber attack in history just two weeks ago. According to the reports, the attack was a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, in which a network of infected computers (a botnet) is directed to bombard its target with traffic, overloading its servers. But appearing on the Capitol FM Breakfast show this week, Commissioner Angelique Weeks mentioned that the assertion from those media outlets was completely fallacious. “The statement that the entire internet system in Liberia was down was untrue, because we have found out from the Cable Construction Liberia (CCL) that there were no problems with the ICE cable; and LIBTELCO and CELLCOM also said they have not experienced any attack,” Commissioner Weeks affirmed, adding, “We have conducted series of checks and the internet exchange point shows that the internet protocol addresses that were impacted by this attack were all IP addresses of Lonestar Cell MTN,” Weeks said. She commented further that the information essentially corroborated with what Lonestar Cell had told the LTA before. “We did not realize the magnitude of this until our investigation reports started coming indicating that it was pretty serious but not as serious as BBC, the Guardian, and other international outlets have reported”. Weeks said even if there were attacks, it would be for short period and not as serious as was reported, because Lonestar Cell was able to identify and protect their system such that there was not more devastating impact of the attacks. “From the initial reports gathered from Lonestar Cell they have brought some anti cyber attack experts and they have been able to work with them to minimize the impact”, the LTA Boss stated.