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North Korea’s Internet May Be Under Attack

North Korea’s Internet May Be Under Attack

by Josiah WilmothDecember 22, 2014

North Korea experienced widespread internet outages on Monday. The unusually prolonged connectivity issues could owe their origin to maintenance work or router troubles. However, experts state the unusual nature of the outages could indicate North Korea’s internet is under attack. Could this be the “proportional response” President Barack Obama stated the United States would take against North Korea’s alleged role in the recent Sony hacks and terrorist threats?

Also read: Sony Hack Drama Continues: Washington Wants North Korea to Compensate Sony for The Interview

North Korea’s Internet May Be Under Attack

north korea blackoutNorth Korea’s internet is notoriously insulated, with few users having access to the uncensored internet most in the West enjoy. But North Koreans had trouble accessing even that limited internet on Monday as the nation experienced widespread internet outages. It’s possible the connectivity troubles stem from network maintenance or minor hardware trouble. However,  North Korea Tech spoke with Doug Madory of internet analysis firm Dyn Research, who said there is reason to consider that North Korea’s internet outage may be more serious.

I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.

Madory elaborated in a later interview with Re/code:

They’re pretty stable networks normally,” Madory said. “In the last 24 hours or so, the networks in North Korea are under some kind of duress, but I can’t tell you exactly what’s causing it…There’s no way to confirm that these outages are the result of an attack, but given the timing, it’s something we have to consider,” he said.

Could the U.S. Be Involved?

Both the irregularity and timing of North Korea’s internet outage raise questions about U.S. involvement. The FBI officially blamed North Korea for the recent Sony hacking scandal and terror threats, which caused Sony to cancel the release of The Interview. Later, President Obama stated that the U.S. government was taking steps to prepare a “proportional response” to the attack, which he referred to as an act of “cyber vandalism.” The U.S. reportedly made overtures to China for help with the response.

But if the U.S. is involved, they are not ready to admit it. When asked by CNBC for comment, a White House National Security Council representative remained tight-lipped.

We don’t have any new announcements on North Korea today.

What do you think? Comment below!

Images from Wikimedia.

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