North Korea's Internet Still Unstable, Following U.S. Accusations
A moderate-size denial-of-service attack disconnects North Korea from the Internet, but experts say the U.S. is likely not behind the attack.A moderate-sized denial-of-service attack has disrupted North Korea's Internet service, making government and university Websites largely unavailable for the past 24 hours, but security experts do not believe the U.S. government to be behind the attack. The attack used a technique known as amplification to inundate North Korea's small Internet address block with Network Time Protocol (NTP) packets. The attack actually started on Dec. 18 and quickly ramped up over the next few days, according to data from network security firm Arbor Networks. On Dec. 22, connectivity problems became apparent, and North Korea's network became largely inaccessible. The next day, the country could once again be reached over the Internet, but problems persisted, according to Internet infrastructure firm Dyn. "Internet of North Korea down again at 15:41 UTC," Dyn's researchers tweeted. "Second blackout since last night's restoration of service." The online attack on North Korea follows an announcement on Dec. 19 by U.S. officials that its experts believed the North Korean government to be behind the devastating digital attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. President Obama promised that the United States would "respond proportionally and we will respond in a place and time we choose."
Despite the close timing between the U.S. pledge and the attack on North Korea, security experts did not believe the denial-of-service attack to be nation-state supported.