MTN South Africa experienced a breakdown on Wednesday on it SouthAfrican Data Network and it has now been confirmed that the company fell victim to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyber-attack.
The breakdown also affected internet service providers Afrihost and Axxess, the former claiming the attack was launched on MTN’s DNS cluster.
“The servers basically couldn’t cope with the load, and it was difficult for us to bring them up again while the attack was still in progress,” said Afrihost.
A denial-of-service cyber-attack is an ordinary tactic used by cyber criminals to flood a particular website with packet requests (traffic), to the point where the servers cannot handle the load and collapse under the pressure.
“The MTN DNS servers would normally handle this type of attack without any problems, but at the time of the attack, some changes were made to the DNS servers and there was a bug in the system that made the situation far worse than it should have been. This bug has been fixed and this issue should not happen again,” Afrihost’s Greg Payne.
When the cyber attacker struck on 28 August, Afrihost announced on their Facebook profile that they are experiencing connectivity issues.
Afrihost partnered with MTN in January this year to deliver a premium ADSL service to their clients.
“Afrihost have partnered with MTN to offer a premium ADSL service to our clients. By joining the biggest telecoms network on the continent, we have ensured the future of our products, services and clients. Over the past 3 years, MTN has been investing approximately R4 Billion annually on infrastructure upgrades to make their Broadband Services the very best on offer,” they announced at the time.