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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Liberia’s Environmental News Platform Under Cyber-Attack

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The digital attacks on the “Daylight” news website can be traced back to the company exposed in the outlet’s investigative stories.

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 4 July 2024.

The Daylight, a news website run by an environmental nonprofit organization, has experienced a series of cyber-attacks from a group which is the subject of investigative stories published by the outlet.

The outlet is Liberia’s leading environmental news platform that publishes evidence-based, independent, news content.

Recently, Daylight’s investigation revealed an illegal Rock Quarry in Harrisburg, Montserrado County, that is polluting the environment. The investigation revealed that the quarry company used explosions which destroyed houses, while it backfilled water sources used by residents.

The investigation prompted the House of Representatives Committee on Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Environment to launch an investigation into the company.

According to James Harding Giahyue, Managing Editor of the Daylight, the news website has been experiencing some disruptions which have been confirmed to be due to cyber-attacks. Mr. Giahyue told the MFWA that the attacks have been traced to a company whose destructive environmental activities have been serially reported by the Daylight. He said the matter has been reported to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), and the Liberia National Police (LNP) for investigation.

Liberia is covered by 43 percent of the upper Guinea Forest. Illegal mining and failure of Companies to fulfill agreements signed with the communities they operate in are depleting the forest cover. Daylight has been shedding light on these violations.

The MFWA deplores the attacks on the Daylight news website and urges the authorities in Liberia to find and punish the perpetrators.

“The website was hacked and infected with malware that makes it impossible for the site to open on the computer  devices of visitors and subscribers with secure and active antivirus systems,” James Giahyue, Director and Managing Editor, stated in a letter signed by him. The letter requested support from the Institute of Sustainable Development, a sister NGO, to fix the issue.

James Giahyue, told the MFWA that the malware attack began in late 2023 and was definitely fixed by April 2024. However, he said, revealed that the Daylight continues to be targeted.

“The attacks continue to come. They send us trapping Facebook messages, sometimes pretending to come from a social media company,” Giahyue added.

 

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