Short Bytes: Botnet 14, a Mirai botnet, has knocked offline the internet of an entire country. Over the week, Botnet 14 targetted Liberia, a little-known African country, and sent its internet systems offline multiple times. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont, who was one the first people to spot the attack, has said that “these attacks appear to be a test nature.”
Mirai botnet is an open source botnet that anybody can use. It uses the insecure Internet of Things devices and directs a massive amount of traffic to an online service or website. Recently we witnessed the cyber attack on Dyn DNS that resulted in shutting down of many popular websites like Reddit, GitHub, and Netflix. This was preceded by another massive DDoS attack of similar nature on security researcher Brian Krebs’ website and OVH hosting.
In the latest development, this week, Botnet 14, a Mirai botnet, knocked an entire country offline. However, the target was a small one, Liberia, with a population of about 4.5 million. In Liberia, less than 10 percent of people have internet access–something that’s provided by just two internet companies that share a single optic fiber cable.
Security researcher Kevin Beaumont was one of the first peoples to notice this attack. He wrote about the same on Medium, claiming that the attacks were one of the largest capacity botnets ever recorded. The attacks were launched in short bursts of few minutes, over the course of a week.
The attacks were reported by a Twitter account named @MiraiAttacks. It tweets the alerts of attacks along with the domains of targets.
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Beaumont has called the botnet Shadows Kill as it gives subtle messages and warns security researchers. He also says that these attacks are extremely worrying as they suggest that a Mirai operator has enough capacity to kill the internet system of a country.
It’s possible that a little-known country might be the perfect target to test the capacities of Mirai botnets for larger attacks. Beaumont also says that “these attacks appear to be a test nature.”
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