In the wake of North Korea’s hacking of Sony Pictures in response to the film “The Interview,” the Communist-led country’s Internet is reportedly “under duress,” although it was unknown if the situation is the result of a cyber attack.
As first reported by The New York Times, the Internet in North Korea went dark today.
“Their networks are under duress,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research. “This is consistent with a DDos attack on their routers.”
A DDos attack, or distributed denial of service, occurs when a network is overwhelmed with traffic from multiple sources until it collapses.
The news of the apparent collapse of North Korea’s Internet comes after Sony Pictures was the target of a cyberattack by North Korea in retaliation for “The Interview,” a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about a plot to kill the nation’s dictator, Kim Jong Un.
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The regime’s cyber unit — called Unit 121 — was likely responsible for hacking Sony and revealing embarrassing internal emails between network executives.
President Obama said Friday that the United States would launch a “proportional response.”
Internet access in North Korea is scarce, and the majority of residents do not have access to the World Wide Web. It was not clear whether current circumstances are the result of an attack or the regime took itself offline as a preventive measure.
“The effects of this will be felt only by the elites and the cyber warriors — there is very little Internet access for average citizens in North Korea,” homeland security consultant Paul Rosenzweig, founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, told The Daily Signal.
Rosenzweig said it’s possible any attack on North Korea’s Internet could have come from other entities beyond the U.S. He said:
The North Korea network is so small that this could easily be a takedown by someone other than American — Sony, Anonymous or some patriotic American hackers. We really don’t know who is behind this. It may even be the North Korean government preemptively going into a shell.
If the failure is the result of an attack, no one has yet taken credit.
“If it is the U.S., we are probably making a mistake by responding cyber-for-cyber since we are asymmetrically vulnerable to attack here in America,” Rosenzweig said. “It would be better to find other pressure points that are most likely to achieve the results we want.”
The country, under Kim’s rule, has 1,024 Internet protocol addresses. The United States, by comparison, has billions.
Sony Pictures cancelled release of “The Interview” after North Koreans responsible for the attack threatened violence at movie theaters that showed it. Franco and Rogen play journalists whom the CIA asks to assassinate Kim.