Was The U.S. Behind North Korea’s Internet Outage?

Internet connectivity was lost across the country of North Korea on Tuesday. The outage comes less than a week after the United States vowed to respond to North Korea’s alleged involvement in the Sony Pictures hacking scandal. Could the U.S. have been involved in North Korea’s outage?

CNN reported on the outage amid escalated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Some experts believe the outage is most likely a coordinated attack given the scale of the outage. Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Dyn Research, commented on Tuesday’s developments.

“Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently,”

Matthew Prince, president of performance and security company Cloud Flare, said the Asian nation “got erased from the global map of the internet.” Prince also cautioned against blaming the United States for the attack saying the culprit is more likely a “15-year-old in a Guy Fawkes mask.”

Fox News reported that several denial-of-service attacks aimed at North Korea have been monitored by Arbor Networks, a company that provides protection against cyber-attacks. The attacks started on Saturday and were still being monitored on Monday. This type of attack aims to overwhelm an organization’s internet equipment by overloading it with worthless traffic. Denial-of-service attacks can cause servers to stop responding until the attacks cease or are filtered out.

Rumors persist about possible U.S. involvement in the outage. On Friday, December 19, President Obama said the U.S. government can be expected to deliver a proportionate response to the hacking of Sony. President Obama described the Sony hack as an act of cyber vandalism and singled out North Korea as the culprit.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, when asked about Washington’s expected response, declined to give details.

“We aren’t going to discuss, you know, 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.”

As previously reported by the Inquistr, North Korea is known to use an elite intelligence unit of cyber hackers to carry out more cyber attacks against the United Sttaes than any other nation. The unit is reported to operate out of a luxury hotel in Shenyang, China, where they repeatedly coordinate attacks meant to disrupt computer systems in the United States and South Korea.