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Lonestar MTN suit against Orange in London Beams Spotlight on Major Cyberattack 

Lonestar MTN suit against Orange in London Beams Spotlight on Major Cyberattack 
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A landmark lawsuit filed by Lonestar MTN, Liberia’s biggest mobile phone company against rival Orange at a UK court over an alleged cyber attack is setting a key precedent, as the hearings are set to begin. 

Lonestar MTN, the Liberian mobile unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has sued Orange at the London court citing damages allegedly caused by massive cyber attacks experienced on its network between 2015 and 2017.

By opting for a London court for its lawsuit, Lonestar MTN decided to hit the battleground where Daniel Kaye, the so-called hacker who took down a country, met his waterloo when he was sentenced to 32 months in jail by the Blackfriars Crown Court in London.

lonestar-mtn-suit-against-orangeover-cyber-attacks
Lonestar MTN suit against Orange in London Beams Spotlight on Major Cyberattack 

By opting for a London court for its lawsuit, Lonestar MTN decided to hit the battleground where Daniel Kaye, the so-called hacker who took down a country, met his waterloo when he was sentenced to 32 months in jail by the Blackfriars Crown Court in London.

Why Lonestar MTN Took Battle to London Court

Two years ago, Kaye, the hacker that successfully pulled off the Distributed Denial of Service attacks in Liberia admitted to his crime at the London court, and all the exchanges between him and Cellcom were admitted in evidence, according to court filings that showed that he was paid $US30,000.00 for the cyberattacks. 

The Lonestar lawsuit has seen the attention of the global telecoms industry to await the outcome of the trial hoped to serve as a test case and a landmark on how to judicially tackle cyber crimes with national and international impact and implications such as the one that happened in Liberia between 2015 and 2017, according to analysts.

Following the fallout, MTN Lonestar is not pitted against rival Orange, but has also joined Cellcom,  its main competitor that was acquired by Orange in 2015.

Attention will turn to the cyber attack case in the London court where LoneStar MTN is seeking legal remedy to assuage the negative impact that the cyber attacks had on its business over the two-year period that the cyber onslaught lasted, according to the telecoms company. 

LoneStar MTN’s subscribers were unable to communicate during the period as they could not access the network, the mobile phone company says, noting that most Liberians also suffered its devastating impact as they were cut off from bank transactions, while corporate offices operations were brought to a standstill. Learning in educational institutions was negatively impacted, the operator says, and even farmers could not check crop prices.

At the height of the cyber attack in Liberia, the largest hospital in the capital city went offline several times as the attacks continued unabated, while infectious disease specialists lost contact with international health agencies.

While it lasted, the cyber attacks attracted the attention of the global IT community when Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information in Liberia at the time, who was away in Paris when the attacks started could not reach his country on phone or by email. His bank card also stopped working due to the incident. 

“The scale of the attacks tells us that this is a matter of grave concern, not just to Liberia but to the global community that is connected to the Internet,”  an exasperated Nagbe who went on French Radio to appeal for global help said. 

Telecoms and IT experts contend that never before had the world witnessed cyber attacks of such magnitude that hit Liberia.

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