Who Is to Blame for North Korea’s Internet Collapse?
Recent Internet outages widespread throughout North Korea reached an apex Monday with reports suggesting the country’s Internet was completely down. Although there have been no direct links thus far with the U.S. government, The Guardian has reported on the possibility of Washington’s involvement:
President Barack Obama said on Friday the US government expected to respond to the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which he described as an expensive act of “cyber vandalism” that he blamed on North Korea. Obama did not say how the US might respond, and it was not immediately clear if the internet connectivity problems represented the retribution. The US government regards its offensive cyber operations as highly classified.
“We aren’t going to discuss, you know, publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Threats aside, there is reason to be skeptical of U.S. involvement.
Although the Internet is down, most of the people in North Korea have never been able to fully access the Internet. To have a computer in North Korea you need special permission by the government and most people are too poor to afford such luxuries. The ones who are able to access computers are able to look at only websites that are handpicked by the government. The networks are solely accessible through North Korean government offices, universities and cybercafes located in some of the major cities. There is a small group of government officials who have access to the full Web.
North Korea threatened to “retaliate” against the U.S. government over the Hollywood film “The Interview.” The North Korean government has stated that it has evidence of Washington’s hand in the film’s plot, which portrays the assassination of Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang continues to deny any involvement in the Sony hacking scandal.
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