Human RightsNews

Radio Ndarason Website Experiences ‘Sustained, Massive’ Attack

The broadcaster says its teams are working to restore the website as soon as possible.

The website of Radio Ndarason International (RNI), which broadcasts across the Lake Chad basin in local languages, has had to shut down after it was targeted by a DDOS attack, which started on Friday, Oct. 28.

In a statement shared with HumAngle on Thursday, the broadcaster described the attack as sustained and massive, noting that no one has claimed responsibility yet.

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack causes a website to receive an overwhelming number of fake visits, ultimately disrupting normal traffic and preventing others from having access.

“[We have] no idea who is behind this assault on a respected media organisation, or why they are doing it. The cost of a DDoS attack can run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly if it is sustained over a long period, such as this,” RNI said.

“Finding out who is behind such activity is extremely difficult. Sustained and large attacks are sometimes undertaken by governments against a perceived enemy, while others are undertaken by criminal hackers who hope to gain some advantage.”

The group assured its listeners and supporters through its site that its teams around the world are working to combat the attacks “and hope to restore normal service as soon as possible”. 

“We are truly sorry for the inconvenience, as it is our mission to provide you with vital, credible information about the Lake Chad Basin and the Greater Sahel,” it added.

RNI, which started operations in 2015, broadcasts across the Lake Chad region in Kanuri, Kanembu, Buduma and French, reaching an audience of about eight million people in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

It covers issues such as conflict, extremism, food crises, and gender-based violence.

“We have launched programmes with what is called alternative-constructive discourse. For example, if Boko Haram uses verses from the Koran to justify violent acts, we invite experts on radio, including experts on Islam, to understand the verses, or even hadiths, in a peaceful way,” RNI founder David Smith said in an interview last February.

“But life in the Lake region does not revolve exclusively around topics related to violence.  We broadcast a lot of content on development, agriculture, fishing, livestock … How can farmers and herders live together? How important is education? In the region, illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world. Getting information through the radio is a reality.”

News sites in Nigeria have recently faced cyber attacks.

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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