Tech

North Korea’s Internet Could Be Under A Major Attack

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor

North Korea’s Internet connectivity has been suffering from increasingly intermittent and prolonged outages since yesterday, resulting in major disruptions that could indicate the country is under some form of cyberattack.

“After 24hrs of increasing instability, North Korean national Internet has been down hard for more than 2hrs,” Internet research firm Dyn Research tweeted Monday along with a graph illustrating the increasing frequency of interruptions above the 38th parallel.

“Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems,” Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, told CNN Monday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”

The disruption comes right after a weekend of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over the FBI’s Friday accusation that Pyongyang was behind the massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures, which a hacker group named the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for in November.

A subsequent threat by the hackers to attack theaters on Dec. 25 forced the company to pull the film debut of “The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco in a comedic attempt to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. (RELATED: U.S. Officially Names North Korea In Sony Hack)

President Obama followed up the FBI statement during a weekend interview with CNN, during which the president described the attack, which he attributed to North Korea, as an act of “cybervandalism.” In response, North Korea accused the White House of taking part in developing the film’s plot and vowed “counteraction” against the U.S. as a whole if the government continued to accuse Pyongyang of the hack.

During Obama’s year-end press conference at the White House Friday, the president said the U.S. would “respond proportionally” to the situation, though he declined to elaborate on what that response might be.

“It’s as if North Korea got erased from the global map of the Internet,” Matthew Prince, president of network, domain and security provider CloudFlare told CNN, adding that the disruptions made it as if “all the routes to get to North Korea just disappeared.”

According to Prince, it’s too early to confirm whether an attack is taking place.

“If it is an attack, it’s highly unlikely it’s the United States. More likely it’s a 15-year-old in a Guy Fawkes mask,” Prince said.

Both the National Security Council and the State Department reportedly declined to comment on the situation.

Since the FBI’s announcement Friday some cybersecurity experts have begun to question the evidence presented by the bureau linking North Korea to the hack, which they describe as flimsy or circumstantial at best. (RELATED: Evidence Linking North Korea To Sony Hack ‘Pretty Weak’)

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