LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Reports of sporadic internet outages throughout North Korea progressed to claim that there no internet in the country at all on Monday.
Service appeared to be back online by late Monday, but questions remained as to who was responsible for the outage.
Experts who spoke with CBS2 on Monday say that they’d be surprised if the US government had a part to play in the outage, and suggested that the work looked like that of a small group of hackers.
“It wouldn’t take that many people coming together in sort of a ‘lone wolf’ style almost, to mount this kind of attack,” USC Director of Computer Security Clifford Neuman said. “There are only four links into North Korea from the rest of the internet. All four of those links go through China, and they’re not particularly fast links. That means it doesn’t take much to mount that kind of ‘denial of service’ attack.”
Intermittent internet outages were reported over the weekend, following a cyber attack on Sony that pushed the company into holding the release of the film ‘The Interview’, which features a depiction of North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un.
These reports then began saying the internet outages were progressively getting worse, and Monday suggested the country has no internet at all.
One computer expert tells the Associated Press that the country’s online access was completely gone.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment directly on the situation.
“We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options, or comment on those kinds of reports in any way, except to say that, when we implement our responses, some will be seen (and) some may not be seen,” Harf said.
While North Korea has denied any involvement in the cyber attack, the FBI has concluded that Kim’s regime was indeed behind it.
“As the FBI and the president and everyone has now made clear, we are confident that the North Korean government is responsible for this destructive attack,” Harf said.
The film, which included an on-screen assassination attempt on Kim Jong-Un in one scene, prompted threats to the safety of movie-goers if the film were to be released.
Sony says that, since theater owners refused to run the movie, they had no choice but to pull the picture. The company later said the film would become available on another platform.
“Sony is saying the right things, because they don’t want to further anger the creative community that thinks they have sort of compromised their freedom of expression, and their artistic integrity,” Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Sun said. “But their also not offering any specifics in terms of this willingness, and every intention to release the film.”
A number of independent theaters have said they would screen the film.
“We thought, it our small way, that we might be able to help, if they were interested in distributing the film across North America in some of the Art House theaters,”Art House Convergence’s Russ Collins said. “We’re used to taking risks with exhibition. Each theater is going to have to assess the risk in terms of public safety (and) safety of their employees.”
“Independent theaters do this on a fairly regular basis, in showing controversial documentaries, or controversial films.”
Art House says they have yet to hear back from Sony about their offer to screen the film.