African Network Information Centre Company, (AFRINIC) conducted an internal investigation after having reported on misappropriated of IP number resources in AFRINIC’s WHOIS database since 2019. Following the internal investigation, a former employee was found to have defalcated IP number resources forming part of AFRINIC’s pool of resources.
The report confirmed the statement that was posed by AFRINIC earlier that a total of 4.1 million internet Protocol (IP) addresses had been embezzled. The report also allocated all the resources that were compromised.
AFRINIC uncovered that, after the United States Federal Investigation (FBI) raised red flags, there became aware that they had an internal problem in 2019.
The report stated that “In or about March 2019, upon receipt of a Court Order from the Supreme Court Mauritius following an application made by the (FBI), AFRINIC became aware of certain suspicious activities regarding several IPv4 address blocks which it held”.
In the same line, the term (IPv4 address blocks) refers to blocks of internet Protocol Version 4 Addresses. Devices on the Internet require IP addresses to communicate with each other.
Further, acceptable estimates indicate that a single IPv4 address is selling for around $20 on the reseller market, that is, At R15 per USD, that brings the total value of the compromised IP address blocks to around R1.25 billion. The report revealed that these IP addresses were embezzled by manipulating their records in the AFRINIC WHOIS database.
WHOIS is the standard used on the Internet to keep track of resources.
Therefore, the WHOIS database is like the Internet deeds of office for the entire African region and the better part of the last decade, it was compromised.
Considering the findings of the audit, AFRINIC took several remedial actions such as reinforcing internal and external processes and adding multiple layers of verification to their IP allocation and database update process.
AFRINIC also undertook a review of its core functions and made various improvements in the control mechanisms for the management of internet number resources. Also, AFRINIC has been reinforcing its internal capacity and has embarked on a training program for staff members in the registration services.