LoneStar Could Sue Cellcom and Orange -As UK Hacker Nabbed in US

MONROVIA – There are probable feelers from the management of the Lonestar GSM company that there could be a legal action instituted against a Cellcom and  Orange GSM for the disruption to its services in 2015 after the alleged mastermind, Daniel Kaye, a notorious UK hacker was recently arrested and arraigned in court for his reported connections to an illegal and criminal dark web market, called The Real Deal, that sold hacking tools and stolen login credentials for US government computers.

Competent sources within the company told The Analyst that the decision which is being contemplated highly against the background of the huge losses both in revenue and image suffered when Kaye launched a devastating DDOS attack against Liberia in October 2916 while using the Mirai Botnet and overwhelmed the LoneStar mobile, cutting off the internet for half the country and crippling banks, hospitals and schools. He was eventually arrested in February 2017 while trying to flee London to Cyprus and has faced charges in several countries over his use of DDoS attacks for hire

He pleaded guilty to creating and using a botnet, a series of computers connected in order to attack systems, and possessing criminal property last month. Kaye was sentenced on Friday at Blackfriars Crown Court in central London to two years and eight months in prison.

According to sources knowledgeable about his criminal past, while living in Cyprus, Kaye used a botnet he had created to trigger repeated distributed denial of service (DDoS) requests on Lonestar, causing the company to spend a reported amount of $600,000 in remedial action.

According to agency reports then, Kaye admitted being hired by a Cellcom operative to launch a cyber-attack on Lonestar and he along with others, Avishai Marziano a former Chief Executive Officer and another person, Ran Polani were scheduled to face trial in an English Commercial Court in 2019

In a statement issued at the time, a copy of which was sent to this paper via email, Lonestar Mobile confirmed the proceedings against Kaye, saying that it has provided a business impact statement in criminal proceedings against the Briton.

According to the statement which was signed by the company’s Deputy CEO & Head of Corporate Services, Ms. Laureine Guilao, the cyber-attack was a targeted and sustained act of industrial sabotage designed to disrupt Lonestar’s business and that of its customers, so as to advantage Lonestar’s competitors.

“The attack caused considerable damage to Lonestar’s business and disruption to our customers in Liberia. In those circumstances, Lonestar Cell MTN and MTN Group considered it was appropriate and indeed important to provide a business impact statement to explain the impact of the cyber-attack on Lonestar,” the statement added.

The scramble for a lion share of Liberia’s population which was put at some 4.5m people by the two GSM companies operating then, LoneStar MTN Liberia and Cellcom might have triggered the attack on LoneStar. Cellcom later on sold its operating license to Orange Mobile.

This is believed to be the first time that a single cyber attacker had disrupted an entire nation’s internet – albeit without intending to do so. Hack attacks cut internet access in Liberia In written submissions to the court, Babatunde Osho, Lonestar’s former chief executive, said Kaye’s criminality had been devastating.

“The DDOS perpetrated by Daniel Kaye seriously compromised Lonestar’s ability to provide a reliable internet connection to its customers,” said Mr Osho.” In turn, Mr Kaye’s actions prevented Lonestar’s customers from communicating with each other, obtaining access to essential services, and carrying out their day-to-day business activities.

“A substantial number of Lonestar’s customers switched to competitors. “In the years preceding the DDOS attacks, Lonestar’s annual revenue exceeded $80m (£62.4m). Since the attacks, revenue has decreased by tens of millions and its current liabilities have increased by tens of millions.”

His arrest in the United States according to reports available to The Analyst is attributed to operating criminal platforms and facilitating the sale of stolen information – including bank account and credit card details, as well as other personal information; illegal drugs; weapons; botnets; computer hacking tools; and credentials for social media accounts. He previously served more than two-and-a-half years in a British prison for perpetrating a devastating distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Liberia, among other crimes.

According to court records available to The Analyst ,U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan  said the 34-year-old allegedly ran the site while living overseas and organized it under categories like “Exploit Code,” “Counterfeits,” “Drugs,” “Fraud & More, “Government Data,” and “Weapons.”

Court records further said that vendors could make pages and get ratings based on the quality of what they sold. The Justice Department said the site featured login credentials for computers at the U.S. Navy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Postal Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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