Menu
Something strange just happened with North Korea's Internet

Something strange just happened with North Korea's Internet

A series of apparently deliberate outages cut the country from the Internet

Students use computers at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang on May 23, 2014. Credit: Uri Tours

Students use computers at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang on May 23, 2014. Credit: Uri Tours

Ever since North Korea directly connected to the Internet in 2010, there's been a lot of interest in how the world's most closed country maintains and uses the link.

It connects a handful of Web sites in Pyongyang serving propaganda to the world and allows foreigners in the country largely unfiltered access to the Internet. It also provides monitored access to an unknown number of senior officials, scientists, and university students.

Yet for everything we've learned, there's still a lot we don't know and now there's a new mystery: Last week, the country's sole Internet link with the rest of the world went down for about three hours. It was the longest outage of the year and meant the entire country was disconnected from the Internet, according to monitoring by Dyn Research.

Such outages have happened before, but what happened next was new: Over the next four nights at almost exactly the same time, the connection went down again for about five minutes.

The three-hour outage began at 11:40 p.m. local time last Wednesday, and the shorter outages occurred on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Each began a few seconds after 11:45 p.m.

kp both 1459900830 Dyn Research

A series of outages affecting North Korea's connection with the rest of the Internet can be seen in this graphic from Dyn Research.

The reason for the outages is unclear, but they haven't occurred on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday this week.

"Based on the timings I would guess that a human was doing something at [11:45pm] that included rebooting their router," said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, when asked for his best guess on what might be happening.

So for now, the outages remain another little mystery in the story of how North Korea connects and manages its Internet link.

Whatever the reason, the impact is a little easier to guess.

It's impossible for most North Koreans to get access to the Internet, and any that do would connect through terminals in government buildings or companies. There, access is continuously monitored to ensure they don't stray to sites they aren't supposed to see -- a group that would include any sites carrying news or information.

Until recently, foreigners in the country were allowed relatively free Internet access, but rules recently changed. About a week before the string of outages, North Korea signaled that it had begun blocking access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and South Korean news websites for all users.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags north koreainternetoutages

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments