At the moment it is unclear what caused the country’s internet to go dark – it could have been a technological glitch or a hacking attack. The US government denied that it was involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang in revenge for attacking its paymasters in Hollywood recently.
US President Barack Obama had vowed to respond to the major cyber-attack on Sony, which he blamed on North Korea, “in a place and time and manner that we choose”,
North Korea’s internet links were unstable on Monday and the country later went completely offline.
South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North, also had a motive. It recently revealed that a nuclear power plant operator had been hacked, probably by North Korea.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the leak of data from the nuclear operator was a “grave situation” that was unacceptable as a matter of national security, but she did not mention any involvement of North Korea.
Most North Korean’s would have been unaware that the internet was broken. Very few of its 24 million people have access.
Almost all its Internet links and traffic pass through China. North Korea is dependent on a single international provider, China Unicom.
Apparently the United States asked China to shut down servers and routers used by North Korea that run through Chinese networks. It also asked them to identify any North Korean hackers operating in China and, if found, send them back to North Korea. It wants China to send a strong message to Pyongyang that such acts will not be tolerated.
If the Chinese had switched off the internet for a few hours to send a message to North Korea they did not tell anyone about it.
In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said while it opposed all forms of cyberattacks and that there was no proof that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hacking.