Mainstream Media Falsely Reports Liberia’s Internet Infrastructure Is Under Attack

Internet accessibility in Liberia has been a bit of a hit-and-miss situation over the past few days. While some media outlets tend to believe that the Mirai botnet is behind this massive attack, this does not seem to be the case. Moreover, there is a bigger question of how much truth there is to Liberia not having Internet connectivity right now. Things seem rather normal at present, and there is no reason to believe that Mirai is even remotely involved in this situation.

Does Liberia Have Access To The Internet Or Not?

That seems to be the most difficult question to answer right now. Some news sites are reporting that the entire country has been knocked offline due to a major Mirai botnet attack. Looking closer at how the situation has evolved, however, it appears that there is no major outage in Liberia to speak of–quite a clash of information, to say the least.

Things started to develop when a Medium blog post by Kevin Beaumont began to gain traction. In this story, Beaumont explains how Liberia is suffering from a massive DDoS attack. His finds are based on a Twitter account that monitors attacks around the clock. Then again, this is not exactly the most reliable source of information.

To be more precise, the Twitter account revealed information about a botnet (using Mirai source code) attacking all telecommunication infrastructure in Liberia. For now it remains unclear as to what makes this African country so interesting all of a sudden. The fact that Liberia is connected to the Internet through an undersea cable makes it a rather large target to attack.

As KrebsOnSecurity rightfully points out, these stories do not have any real credibility to them. It appears that Liberia is still happily connected to the Internet, and any rumors regarding a nationwide outage seem vastly overestimated. More importantly, there is no indication of a Mirai-based botnet attacking any undersea cables right now.

Just because multiple mainstream media sources claim that something is going on, does not mean that is the truth. Various outlets picked up the news based on this Medium post, which seems to be either a bunch of misinformation or a clear hoax. Either way, there is no massive attack against Liberian Internet infrastructure right now.

What we do know is how a Mirai-based DDoS attack was launched against a mobile telco in Liberia. The company has managed to thwart that attack, though. Presently, there is no reason to believe Liberia is under attack. This does not mean, however, that such a scenario could not happen to any country in the world at some point in the future.

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