North Korea is facing a major Internet disruption, which could be the result of a cyber attack on the country, according to experts who monitor Internet performance.
“After 24hrs of increasing instability, North Korean national Internet has been down hard for more than 2hrs,” Dyn Research tweeted, according to a CNN report.
The reported outage comes amid an escalating war of words between the US and North Korea over a massive cyber attack on Sony Pictures, over the controversial film, “The Interview”, revolving around a fictitious US plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
“Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research.
Matthew Prince, president of CloudFlare, a performance and security company, described the disruption as if “all the routes to get to North Korea just disappeared.
“It’s as if North Korea got erased from the global map of the Internet,” he said.
Prince told CNN that it was well within the realm of possibility that a single individual could be behind the interruption, but said that he could not conclude at this point if an attack was actually taking place.
“If it is an attack, it’s highly unlikely (that) it’s the US. More likely it’s a 15-year-old in a Guy Fawkes mask,” he said.
The US had blamed North Korea for the cyber attack on Sony, which had led to the theft of extensive amounts of proprietory Sony employee data.
The North Korean government, which was outraged by the film’s storyline, claimed to have “clear evidence” that the US government engineered the project as a “propaganda” attack against the country, according to media reports.
However, it has denied being involved in the attack and has called for a joint investigation with the US.
Sony had decided to cancel the Christmas release of the film, in the wake of the cyber attack, amid threats to movie-goers.
US President Barack Obama told CNN Sunday that the hack was “an act of cybervandalism”, but that he did not consider it an act of war.
He had earlier said that the US would “respond proportionally” to the attack on Sony, without giving specifics.
Deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, Marie Harf declined to disclose what the US retaliatory measures would be, reiterating that the US would implement its response. “Some will be seen, some may not be seen,” she said.