A report from DYN Research based on information from North Korea Tech says that North Korean internet connectivity grew steadily worse over the last 24 hours and is now completely offline.
Speculation for the reason centers on some sort of attack in retaliation for the Sony hack, or it could be North Korea itself trying to prevent a cyber attack.
“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at DYN Research, told North Korea Tech. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”
In an interview with Re/code, Madory said that even typically strong connections are experiencing disruptions. (CNBC’s parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code’s parent Revere Digital.)
“They’re pretty stable networks normally,” he told Re/code. “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.”
He added that there is no way to know if the outages are the result of an attack, or are just from maintenance or a power outage. Still, “given the timing,” a cyberattack is worth considering, he told Re/code.
In a Friday media conference, Obama promised a response “at a place and time and manner that we choose,” and he declined to rule out military force or economic penalties.
When asked for comment, a White House National Security Council representative told CNBC, “We don’t have any new announcements on North Korea today.”
“We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in anyway except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” Marie Harf, a deputy spokeswoman at the State Department, said during a media briefing.
It would be satisfying, indeed, if U.S. cyberwarriors hit back at the blowhard regime. But at least one expert thinks there could be another reason for the outage:
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince suggested that North Korea’s loss of Internet connectivity may not necessarily be the result of U.S. action. In fact, he told the Journal, the country could have shut off its own Internet to assert control over its population or guard against cyberattacks. China—which provides Internet to the embattled nation—also could have taken North Korea offline in response to American pressure, he said.
Looks like Kim Jong-un is going to have to go without his NBA.com fix for a while.
If this is a U.S. counter to the North Korean hack of Sony, it’s hardly “proportional.” But it is a useful message to send: screw with us and we’ll take down the whole shebang.
At the very least, it’s a message that even Kim and his henchmen can understand.
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