Quick one on the People’s Gazette attack

Today’s lesson is about People’s Gazette and the attacks that happened on their website a few weeks ago, and yesterday. Both attacks were the classic denial of service attacks aimed at getting the site offline.

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) is an attack done by multiple computers flooding the server that the attacker wants to get offline with false traffic requests, thus overwhelming it and putting it offline. Anyone can fall victim to DDOS. Now here is the thing: a DDOS can be bought. Most of the people who sell DDOS attacks as a service are based in Russia or Ukraine. Kaspersky Labs has estimated that a cloud-based botnet could cost as low as $25 an hour, so if you want to keep a website offline, then for a day that should cost you roughly ₦285k, and if you decide to do it for a month, well, you’re talking of at least ₦8 million.

How many people in Nigeria have those kinds of resources.

But here is the thing. Let us assume for a moment that it is true that People’s Gazette has put questionable, perhaps libelous information out there. Would it not be a whole lot cheaper to take them to court, get a judgment and hefty settlement which may end up getting them offline permanently?

This thing of constantly going in heavy, or doing things “with immediate effect”, never help. In short, they always make things worse. People in government circles need to understand this. You cannot throw power about for the precise reason that you have this power. Due process is a tool, and is a much stronger weapon. Using the tools of state to try and silence People’s Gazette will always backfire, will win them more sympathy, and will delegitimise the government even more.

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Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.