North Korea’s connection to the public Internet went down Monday, after U.S. officials promised a “proportional response” to the nation’s alleged cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Matthew Prince, chief executive of Cloudflare, a network and security company that monitors global Web access, said it’s conceivable. His engineers confirmed North Korea started losing its Internet connection to the outside world early Monday East Coast time, and was still down at mid-day.
Dyn, which monitors Internet performance, said its tests found North Korean Internet addresses unreachable since 11:15 a.m. ET. But Prince said there are more likely scenarios. Here are three:
Option One: North Korea shut off its own Internet access. Sounds crazy by U.S. standards but tightly controlled regimes, such as Syria, have a history of severing connections during tense moments on the world stage. Doing so would prevent the few North Koreans with Internet access from reading about the current crisis over the Sony hack and would block any incoming cyberattack from the U.S. or its allies.
Option Two: China shut off North Korea’s Internet access. North Korea gets its Internet access through China Unicom, the mainland telecommunications giant, in Shenyang, China. U.S. officials have said they are reaching out to China to pressure North Korea over its alleged involvement in the Sony hack.
Option Three: Someone is interfering with North Korea’s Internet traffic. Since North Korea has just one main connection to the global Internet, it would be possible for an outsider such as a foreign government or mischievous hackers to overload North Korea’s broadband connection with malicious traffic.
What do you guys think happened to North Korea’s internet access?