North Korea’s internet is down “almost completely” after an American hacker single-handedly paralyzed government-run websites and disrupted e-mail traffic in the country, in an incident that appears to be a “personal revenge”.
An independent hacker known as P4x launched a cyber attack dubbed “Distributed Denial of Service” that disrupted internet service with a massive flood of data sent and received via traffic, according to The Times .
Reports say that the impact of the attacks lasted two weeks on most of the few official websites in North Korea, including the website of the state airline Air Koryo and the government website Naenara that specializes in news and propaganda for the ruling regime.
Some North Korean internet monitoring experts previously suspected that these attacks were carried out by Western governments in response to Pyongyang’s recent series of missile tests.
But the US magazine Wired revealed that the one responsible for the attacks was “an American man who sat in his living room night after night in a T-shirt, pajama pants and slippers, watched sci-fi and horror movies, ate hot corn, and walked into his office every now and then to take a look at the progress of the Programs through which he oversaw the disruption of the Internet in an entire country.
The pirate justifies what he did
North Korea is reported to be one of the world’s least digitally connected countries. Although in recent years a large number of people have gained access to a local “Internet” of linked sites, they remain cut off from the World Wide Web, and users cannot browse anything except as permitted by the government.
Only a few trusted officials and academics are allowed to access the World Wide Web, and few North Korean websites are connected to it, and it was the P4x hacker who managed to infiltrate their computers, using what he said to identify vulnerabilities in old North Korean operating systems. and exploited.
For his part, the American hacker said that he did so in retaliation for a cyber attack he was subjected to during a failed North Korean attempt more than a year ago to hack his personal network and seek to make his data available for electronic hacking, and although he reported the incident to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US authorities ignored him, to some extent. he said.
In response, P4x created a website on the “dark web” called Project FUNK, to recruit other hackers for its campaign. “This is a project to respond to North Korea,” said the founding statement of the FUNK Project.
The statement added: “One person can make a difference. The goal is to carry out counterattacks and gather information in order to prevent North Korea from penetrating the Western world unchecked.”
The American hacker told Wired: “I felt it was the right thing to do. If they don’t see that we have the strength to defend ourselves, their attacks will continue. I want them to understand that if they come to us, their infrastructure will suffer for some time.”
According to United Nations reports, North Korean hackers have launched attacks on financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchange services in at least 35 countries, with profits amounting to about $2 billion.
The most severe of these was an attempt, with some success, to steal $1 billion from the central bank of Bangladesh in 2016.
At the time, a mysterious group known as Lazarus launched the WannaCry cyber attack in 2017, which affected some 300,000 computers in 150 countries around the world, including those of the British Health Service.