In the midst of escalating tensions between the two Koreas, North Korea’s Internet has gone offline twice in the past 12 hours. The Internet outages follow a series of moves and countermoves by North and South Korea.
Two South Korean soldiers were severely injured by North Korean landmines while South Korea’s blasting of propaganda through loudspeakers into North Korea has angered dictator Kim Jong Un.
The two countries traded artillery fire for the first time in years and the entire Korean peninsula remains on high alert as a result.
It is unknown at this time, however, if South Korea had anything to do with the interestingly timed Internet outages.
North Korea’s Internet is not like that in the rest of the world. Some North Koreans do have access to the Internet - but only a smaller version of it. In fact, the North Koreans that go online only have access to about 10% of the full Internet’s information. For a majority of the users, it is actually an internal intranet consisting of web pages copied from the larger web that are blocked off so that users cannot access the “outside.”
According to the Internet registry RIPE NCC, the North Korean Internet outage could have been the work of hackers. RIPE stated that, “There are a number of possible causes for this kind of outage. We can’t rule out a cyberattack. Tensions are running high in the region, and this is the second time in 12 hours that North Korea has been disconnected from the Internet . . .We only know of a single connection that links North Korea to the wider Internet, so if anything were to wrong with that, it would affect all Internet connectivity within the country.
The first outage occurred on August 20th at about 7:30 p.m. local time and lasted until 10:30 a.m. on August 21st. The second outage occurred later on the 21st.