Cyberattack That Took Liberia Offline Was Likely Just a Test

By Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.
November 4, 2016 Updated: November 4, 2016

The entire internet of a small country was nearly taken out on Nov. 2 by one of the largest cyberattacks ever documented. Cybersecurity researchers worry that the attack on Liberia was merely a group of unknown hackers doing a test-run of a new cyber-weapon, in preparation for a much larger target.

“I think right now they’re just testing and waiting,” said Thomas Pore, director of IT and services at cybersecurity company Plixer. “We don’t know who it is, and we don’t know what the end game is.”

It’s likely the cybercriminals chose Liberia as their target, Pore said, since it wouldn’t garner much international attention.

The tool used in the attack, Mirai, is the same tool that took major websites offline on Oct. 21, including Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter, and had been released online on Oct. 1.

Mirai pulls its strength from massive networks of infected internet-connected items—such as baby monitors, security cameras, and digital video recorders—and uses these for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm websites to take them offline.

The cyberattack on Liberia used upwards of 1.1 terabytes-per-second, according to technology website ZDNet, and was nearly twice as powerful as the initial, record-breaking attacks that were seen from Mirai.

Pore said “I don’t think we have seen the full scale of this,” and said it’s likely the group behind the attacks is still fine-tuning the capabilities off Mirai, and seeing what they can do with it.

Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.