Internet blackout in North Korea

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North Korea’s internet connection was severed on Tuesday, just days after the US government accused the reclusive nation of masterminding the debilitating cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Although President Barack Obama vowed to retaliate on behalf of Sony, which is estimated to have incurred losses of about US$100 million as a result of the hack, the US government has remained silent on whether it was involved in the internet sabotage.

North Korea’s only four networks linking the country to the internet started experiencing intermittent problems on Monday, but on Tuesday, the connection had been completely cut off, said Doug Madory, the director for internet analysis at New Hampshire-based network-monitoring firm Dyn Research.

“I don’t know that someone is launching a cyber-attack against North Korea, but this isn’t normal for them. It is kind of out of the ordinary. This is not like anything I’ve seen before.”

According to Dan Holden, the director for security research at Arbor Networks in Massachusetts, the country seems to be suffering from a distributed denial-of-service attack.

This relatively simple cyber attack is not necessarily the work of the US. Any individual could accomplish something similar for a budget of around US$200, he explained.

“If the US government was going to do something, it would not be so blatant and it would be way worse. This could just be someone in the US who is ticked off because they’re unable to see the movie.”

Furthermore, it is very easy to cut North Korea’s net access due to the small number of hosts linking the Asian country to the internet, added Jose Nazario, Chief Scientist at security-software company Invincea Inc.


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