North Korea's Internet returns after 36-hour outage

State-run media blamed it on an international attack

Internet connectivity to North Korea was restored Friday after a day-and-a-half-long outage that the country's official media blamed on international hacking.

Connections to the Star, North Korea's sole Internet service provider, hit problems on Wednesday when websites became inaccessible from outside the country. The sites remained largely offline throughout the incident, although occasionally made brief returns.

North Korea doesn't have much in the way of Internet connectivity and there is little redundancy in its connection. Its main connection runs via China Unicom in neighboring China, and there is also a back-up satellite Internet connection via Intelsat. The country has just 1,024 IP (Internet protocol) addresses, making its national network more like that of a medium-sized company than an entire country.

Only a few thousand people are estimated to have direct Internet access -- mainly high-ranking government officials and scientists -- and the country has only a handful of public websites. Most of them carry propaganda from the state-run news media. The vast majority of the country has access to a nationwide intranet, which runs on the same technologies as the global Internet but has no connectivity outside of the country.

Renesys, a company that analyzes global Internet connectivity, said it first observed problems at 1 a.m. GMT on Wednesday. That would have been 10 in the morning in Pyongyang. Connectivity was largely lost for about 36 hours and returned late Thursday local time, although wasn't back to normal until Friday, according to Renesys data.

North Korea's state-run media was silent about the outage while it was under way, although on Friday the official Korean Central News Agency came out swinging against the U.S. and its allies. It said the outage was due to an "intensive and persistent virus attack," although offered no further details.

"The DPRK will never remain a passive onlooker to the enemies' cyber attacks that have reached a very grave phase as part of their moves to stifle it," it said, using the official name for the country, The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea.

Such bluster is typical of attacks on the U.S. in state-run media outlets.

The outage came against the backdrop of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula. The recent imposition of additional sanctions on the country by the United Nations Security Council and annual war games between the U.S. and South Korean forces have led the DPRK to threaten retaliation.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityinternetRenesys

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?