North Korea's Internet Is Faltering

Every website in North Korea has suffered from a complete outage on at least two incidents in the last month. The country's internet appears to have been hit by two complete shutdowns, possibly caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. 

Experts think the outages may be the result of cyber attacks against North Korea, though there are other possible explanations.

North Korea experienced intermittent outages until an incident on January 14th crippled all of the country's websites, as domain names ending in ".kp," which include websites for North Korea's state-run media outlets, began to fall over. 

There is a contradiction over access to technology in North Korea.While around 10%of  North Koreans have a smart phone and personal computers are available, the great majority of citizens are denied access to the world wide web. They can access the country's own intranet, with websites of North Korean news, cookery and innocuous topics, but can't get anywhere near outside websites. Mobile phones users  are not able to make overseas calls or access the web.

North Korea also has its own very tightly regulated intranet called Kwangmyong, or Bright, to which a slightly larger elite group has access. This provides a connection between industry, universities and government, and is believed to be used mainly to pass information rather than entertainment or commerce.

This outage follows a period of intermittent outages lasting several hours and during these outages, North Korean servers could not be used.The way the connections failed suggests North Korea's entire IT infrastructure was hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. US tech companies monitoring the North Korean web network, which has only about 1,000 web addresses and is accessible only to a handful of government officials, said it appeared to have suffered a concerted DDoS attack, in which a target’s Internet equipment is overwhelmed by spurious traffic.

Outages can also be the result of domestic power outages or other local infrastructure issues, but the nature of the recent outages struck experts as unusual. Internet outages are often seem to occur in North Korea, which knocked government and state media sites offline with a botched software update last year. 

While there has been some speculation that the outages could be the result of actions taken by the US, China, or someone else at odds with North Korea, experts have been reluctant to assign any responsibility given the unknowns surrounding them. 

In  December 2021,North Korea suffered a complete Internet link failure, resulting in loss of Internet access from outside the country for which the United States is suspected.

Business Insider:      Japan Times:       Guardian:      BBC:     

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