Quick Hits

North Korea's Internet Restored

Restoration of service weakens arguments that the US was responsible for the outage.

After an outage of several hours, North Korea's Internet service was restored at 8:46 p.m. ET Monday night, weakening arguments that the United States or any other country had hit the country with a distributed denial-of-service attack in retaliation for the Sony hack.

According to Reuters: "Matthew Prince, CEO of U.S.-based CloudFlare which protects websites from web-based attacks, said the fact that North Korea's Internet was back up 'is pretty good evidence that the outage wasn't caused by a state-sponsored attack, otherwise it'd likely still be down for the count.'"

An Internet outage in the US during the holiday shopping season would have a huge impact here, even if it was for less than 24 hours. However in North Korea, where very few individuals have access to the Internet, an outage would have very little impact on the day-to-day lives of ordinary North Korean citizens.

Instead, the outage could have been due to a common technical difficulty or even intentional downtime. Despite its prowess at cyberattacks, the North Korean Internet infrastructure is not robust. The entire country uses only one Internet service provider, and has only about 1,000 Internet addresses.

Its one connection to the outside world is through China Unicom, a state-owned telecom company in China. The company could have shut down the servers used by North Korea -- as US officials have asked them to do -- or launched a DDoS attack of its own, but the Chinese government's official stance is that there is still no proof that North Korea was responsible for the attacks on Sony.