Reports: North Korea's Internet access, mobile networks down

The communist country blasted the U.S. and President Obama over its online outages and the movie "The Interview"

North Korea is reportedly suffering Internet and mobile phone service outages Saturday, as the country lashes out against the U.S. government and President Barack Obama.

Late Saturday local time, Internet access faltered for the few North Koreans who can go online, and the country's 3G mobile network also malfunctioned, according to multiple reports citing Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Earlier in the day, North Korea's government had released a statement accusing the U.S. of harming its Internet infrastructure days ago and referring to President Obama using insulting terms.

The tussle between the U.S. and North Korea has its roots in late November, when Sony Pictures' computer systems were hacked and sensitive information was released, including actor salaries and executives' email messages. The hackers also threatened to harm moviegoers at theaters that showed the movie "The Interview," a comedy about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony Pictures cancelled its plans to release the movie on Christmas Day, a decision many criticized, including President Obama, who said: "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States."

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had by then determined that North Korea was responsible for the hack attack. President Obama also said the U.S. would respond to the attack "proportionally" and "in a place and time and manner we choose."

Sony later reversed its decision and made the movie available online starting Tuesday and in theaters on Christmas Day, as originally planned.

The U.S. government has denied causing the Internet outages that began hitting North Korea on Monday, bringing down state-run websites and preventing users from going online, but North Korea is standing behind its accusations.

The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic, reads Saturday's statement, as reported by The New York Times.

North Korea also said it holds President Obama personally responsible for the release of "The Interview," which it considers insulting to Kim Jong-un. The Asian country has denied carrying out the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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