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Liberia's entire internet taken down by Mirai powered DDoS attack

A cyberattack employing the same method that recently affected a number of popular websites including Netflix, Twitter and Amazon has taken the entire country of Liberia offline.

A series of attacks was launched against the country's basic internet infrastructure over the course of week which led to all of its websites going down. It is still unknown who exactly is behind the attack but it has been speculated that a single attacker may have been responsible.

The cyberattacks against Liberia and the DNS service provider Dyn (opens in new tab) were both carried out using the Mirai malware (opens in new tab). This form of malware infects internet-connected devices which are then used to launch powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that flood websites with traffic leading them to crash.
DDoS attacks are generally employed by hackers to take down websites but the attack on Liberia is the first time that such an attack has been used to take an entire country offline. The perpetrators of the attack targeted the two Liberian companies that own and operate the fibre cable that supplies the country with internet access.

Computer security expert, Kevin Beaumont offered further insight on this latest series of cyberattacks, saying: “Over the past week we've seen continued short duration attacks on infrastructure in the nation of Liberia. The attacks are extremely worrying because they suggest a Mirai operator who has enough capacity to seriously impact systems in a nation state. Given the amount of traffic, it appears to be owned by the actor which attacked Dyn.”

The recent rise in DDoS attacks powered by Mirai botnets have led many to question whether or not the US election on 8 November will be the attackers next target. If this is the case than the attacks on Dyn and Liberia could merely be practice for an even larger attack.   

Image Credit: Natanael Ginting / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.