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#492972 - 07/01/14 02:46 PM BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK
Marty Offline
Monday morning server attack triggers more Internet problems

The nation’s premier telecommunications service provider, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), has indicated to us that for nearly two weeks now, it has been grappling with external attacks on its servers – attacks which have hampered customers’ ability to browse the Internet, with problems particularly on Google and Yahoo, which means that customers have even experienced delays receiving e-mails on these platforms.

Dr. Dionne Chamberlain Miranda, General Manager of Customer Services, told us while (Digital Subscriber Line ) DSL customers have been impacted, so too have 4G customers, who also use the data service platforms, and cable companies, such as CBC, which buy Internet from BTL.

Winston Aspinall, BTL’s General Manager of Network Services, said that there was another attack on the system at about 9:00 this morning, when they observed that the usage level on the Internet servers was very high, because the attacker was sending random invalid queries to the system, which slowed down things for all other users.

Why would anyone want to attack BTL’s servers? Miranda said that some people would be doing it for extortion, but that is not the case with BTL. She said that sport hackers exist around the world, who launch these kinds of attacks.

Kevin Hope, BTL’s Chief Technology Officer, said that just over two weeks or so ago, they began experiencing network attacks to some of their Internet servers.

“The attacks started out initially in a moderate way and since have intensified,” Hope said.

Aspinall said that they have been working on mitigating the attacks, and their aim is to be able to completely control them as quickly as possible.

He explained that the load on the server causes a “denial of service attack…” While he said that they had heard of this kind of attack previously, he could not recall them ever having trouble with it at BTL.

Aspinall said that apart from making changes to their server, they have identified and blocked more than 30 IP addresses that were coming from outside Belize, that were initiating the attack. They are also gathering information to provide to a US-based security emergency response team, which they hope would be able to further investigate who may have been responsible for the attacks.

Aspinall told us that they are upgrading to much larger servers with more resources, and they are also acquiring the latest software to be able to counter some of these more recent types of attack.

BTL’s IT and Internet Security Team have been fully engaged, assisted by an internal security consultant, the BTL reps told us.

“We take this issue very seriously, internally. We have pretty much all our tech experts who are well trained in network security and advanced security on board,” Hope said.

“We are very serious about dealing with it. Our customers mean a lot to us…” Miranda said.

A press release from BTL said that they are “in the process of upgrading some of our equipment which will allow us to implement increased security features that will deter the present and future attacks to our systems.”

It added that, “As soon as the replacement of the equipment is completed, scheduled for later tonight, we will provide… an update on our solutions.”


#492981 - 07/02/14 04:47 AM Re: BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Hackers Causing Your Internet Failures

For the past two days - users of BTL's broadband service have been taken back to the early 90's - a time before the internet. That's after both DSL and 4G services have become thoroughly unreliable, leaving users in an electronic abyss, unable to surf the net, or even check emails. It's caused major business bottlenecks, personal inconvenience, and don't even talk about the Facebook and WhatsApp withdrawal!

So what's behind it? And is BTL to blame? Well, today the company held a press conference to say it isn't - and that's because their servers are under attack by international hackers. For those not familiar with the technology, those servers connect you to the internet. Well, in an attack, hackers blitz BTL's servers with requests, overloading them, thereby killing your internet service.

Who's behind it - and when will it end? Those are the questions we asked at a press conference this afternoon:..

Kevin Hope, Chief Technology Officer - BTL
"What we have been having over the last few weeks has been a number on these servers and what has happen is that the attacks have pretty much overwhelm these servers to the point where they have created a large load on these servers to the point where they are not able to properly process the requests that are coming from our customers."

Dr. Dionne Miranda, General Manager of Customer Services
"These cyber attacks are happening around the world in real time and we are just now one of the victims, but we are going to emerge as the victor very soon because we are finding a solution to that."

Kevin Hope
"Over the last few days we have seen where these attacks have pretty much intensified and so we have been putting a lot of efforts in terms of working on these attacks coming up with a plan going forward, in terms of how we can return our service completely back to normal."

Dr. Dionne Miranda
"We have seen recovery at certain hours within the day as the technicians and engineers have been working only for the attacks to actually ramp up and then cause us to go down again."

Kevin Hope
"In terms of the parties that might be responsible for this we at this time are not in a position where we can say for sure. We have a clear idea of where the attacks are coming from in terms of regions and so on."

"Are you concern that this might end up being costly and protract the bandwidth?"

Dr. Dionne Miranda
"We believe that at any time our customers question our reliability and it is costly because one of the things that is very important is our image and our image requires that there is a premise of quality that always surrounds our company, so it is costly whether it's a financial cost then that will have to be tabulated at some point. But the reality is that whenever our customers do not think well of us, we feel that its a huge enough loss and so yes it is costly to us at this point."

Kevin Hope
"Our intention is certainly to have service restore to our customers as soon as possible. But with the steps we are taking, we estimate that now and over the next 2-3 days before we are fully back to normal, but it could be very before then in deed."

Dr. Dionne Miranda
"Could we have been more prepared? I think that we are very prepared which is why we've been able to survive so well with this attack that has been so serious on our company."

For context, as that map we showed you illustrates, server attacks by the scores of thousands are always happening - many of them between the US and China. BTL says that the attacks on its system got so bad today that Belize was in the top ten of the server attack list.

Now, if you have a problem - you can call 119, but that is flooded with calls so it is hard to get through.

But you can text 10-10-275, with the details of where you are and what type of issue you are having. BTL says they will respond to that.

One workaround is to use Google's public server - and for the technically inclined and software adept, to do that you'd have to go into your advanced setting and use "" as your DNS server. That's Google's public server.

Channel 7

#493004 - 07/02/14 10:47 AM Re: BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Comedy of errors. Now a tragedy.

I am at btl office using their internet to access email and such. Poor excuse for a tele comm company
Belize based travel specialist

#493014 - 07/02/14 02:51 PM Re: BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Press Release – July, 2, 2014 - BTL informs our DSL and 4G customers that some changes have been made to our DNS servers. In order to activate the new settings on your computer, customers are asked to change the Primary DNS to and Secondary DNS to 4G customers are asked to Airplane mode or power off your handset so as to allow the changes to take effect for improved internet service.

Customers are assured that our Technical Teams continue to work to find a permanent solution that will alleviate the ongoing external attacks to our servers. We remain committed to providing the quality service our customers expect and deserve.

Customers who continue to have issues accessing their internet service are asked to please call the Call Center at 119 as our Agents remain available to assist. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience and understanding.

#493070 - 07/04/14 01:45 PM Re: BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BTL says Belize was on “top 10” list for cyber-attacks

Representatives of the Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) called a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to update the media on efforts to try to contain what the company said is a flood of attacks against its web servers, originating out of China and Hong Kong.

Dr. Dionne Chamberlain Miranda, General Manager of Customer Services, told Amandala that at around 10:30 Tuesday morning, Belize was among the top ten countries facing such attacks. Amandala has confirmed that several Internet users who depend on BTL platforms, including those who obtain the service via cable operators, have had trouble accessing the Internet.

However, we understand that access via wireless devices have not been impacted in the same manner in which instruments connected to cable wires have been affected.

Kevin Hope, BTL’s Chief Technology Officer, told the media that the attacks have been ongoing for the past two weeks, and that they have been intensifying, overwhelming BTL’s servers.

According to Miranda, the attacks typically happen late in the night, early in the morning and on weekends, but they have remained vigilant in their efforts to normalize service to customers.

The BTL reps indicated to the media that they hope to be able to restore services over the next two to three days.

Winston Aspinall, BTL’s GM of Network Services, said that when the attack happened earlier Tuesday morning, it resulted in “low browsing experience,” since the web servers were not responding as they should have.

BTL claims Internet attack – Part II by adeleramosbz

Miranda said that on Monday, when the company thought that it was on the road to recovery, people were able to browse, but without seeing the online images; however, service was completely interrupted Monday night.

Information which BTL provided to the media on cyber-attacks tracked in real time by Norse, a St. Louis-based company, indicates that the US is listed as the top country facing such attacks, primarily from China, which is listed as the country from which the most attacks originate. It is alleged that the US and China are locked in a “cyber-spying war.”

The company reps could not say why BTL’s servers are under attack, and Miranda said that the attacks are not really specific to BTL. She said that some attackers do this sort of thing just for fun, as it is treated as a sport in some quarters.

The company said that it continues to be inundated with service complaints, but added that the vast majority of them have been resolved. Of 500 complaints received Tuesday, she said, only 72 remain unresolved.

For those customers who cannot get through to the 119 complaints line, they can text their complaints to 10-10-275 and state where they are and the issues they are facing, whether it is a problem with the landline or browsing the Internet.

Miranda said that customers should not assume that the problem is due to cyber-attacks, and customers should report their problems so that BTL can troubleshoot and test each issue customers are facing.

She urges those experiencing problems with 4G services to activate and then deactivate the airplane mode to restore service.

Miranda said that the troubles which BTL has been facing over the past few weeks do have a substantial financial cost, which will have to be tabulated at some point.


#493181 - 07/08/14 03:52 PM Re: BTL INTERNET UNDER ATTACK [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BTL says Internet problems “under control”

Officials of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) told Amandala today that Internet connectivity has for the most part normalized, after customers last week experienced a series of Internet shutdowns which temporarily halted some business operations, most notably those who depend on a connection to the web to serve their customers.

Those businesses range from Internet cafes to businesses which rely on e-mail and online payment systems for business transactions.

Thankfully, our checks with several business establishments today indicated that things were largely back to normal.

Whereas the company reported having received hundreds of daily complaints at the height of what they said were cyber-attacks out of China and Hong Kong last week, Lisbeth Butler, BTL’s manager for customer services, told Amandala this evening that the complaints have substantially lessened. Customers have told us that they experience problems accessing Internet using 4G connections today, and Butler confirmed that they experienced problems with the 4G network for about an hour this morning.

Most customers with whom we spoke said their Internet problems were resolved by Friday, although here at Amandala we continued to experience problems accessing the web via our BTL Internet connection until late Monday evening, when BTL technicians reestablished our connection to the Internet.

There has yet to be an estimate of how much the disruption in Internet services has cost the Belizean economy – in terms of both trade and productivity losses.

President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, told us via phone that he would check with his office to see to what extent their membership has reported on the impacts of the Internet shutdowns.

Butler told Amandala that they are still working on a more permanent solution to address the cyber-attacks, which, she said, continue to persist, and she advises customers who continue to experience connectivity problems to contact them by calling 119.



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