Hackers take an entire country offline

li-areaHackers have managed to take an entire country offline, which even it is a small one, is showing the power of a denial of service attack.

The Mirai botnet was tuned to attack Liberia in Africa and chucked more than 1.1Tbps at the small country,  Security researcher Kevin Beaumont, who was one of the first to notice the attacks and wrote about what he found, said that the attack was one of the largest capacity botnets ever seen.

One transit provider said the attacks were over 500Gbps in size. Beaumont said that given the volume of traffic, it “appears to be the owned by the actor which attacked Dyn”.

Liberia has a basic and spotty internet coverage, which has a single fiber internet cable off its shores providing internet to the country. Just six percent of the country has an internet connection, according to official statistics. Most residents with an internet connection used satellite technology to get online until the arrival of the ACE fibre cable in 2011 along the west African coast, which provides a capacity of up to 5.1Tbps of data and is divided up to serve the entire coast.

“The attacks are extremely worrying because they suggest a Mirai operator who has enough capacity to seriously impact systems in a nation state,” said Beaumont.

It is not clear why anyone would want to attack Liberia, some security experts think that it is being used as a testing ground for new cyberweapons.