Internet analysts at Oracle, Dyn, and John Hopkins North Korea Monitoring Project (known as 38 North), have spotted a new connection in Internet routing databases for the North Koreans via the Russian, state-owned telecommunications company, Trans TeleCom around 5:38 pm Pyongyang time Sunday, October 1st.
This appears to be a supplementary internet connection in addition to the primary internet connection hosted by China Unicom, which has been in operation since 2010.
With this new connection, experts say that North Korean Internet users will have a higher international bandwidth capacity as well as a greater ability to withstand cyber attacks.
“In practical terms, [having multiple connections] will allow additional resiliency if one of those connections were to be rendered inactive for any number of reasons,” – Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Oracle Dyn.
Bryce Boland, the chief technology officer (Asia-Pacific region) for the cyber-security firm, FireEye, told Reuters that it “…will improve the resiliency of their network and increase their ability to conduct command and control over those activities.”
Andrei Soldatov, co-author of the book, “The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries.” Stated that “…This means that the opening of the connection has Russian government backing behind it,”
The United States government, amongst others, has reportedly orchestrated cyber attacks (most commonly known as a denial of service (DOS) or distributed denial of service (DDOS)) against North Korea, authorized by President Donald Trump.
These types of attacks work by sending a massive amount of data to a target and subsequently overloading the targets ability to communicate, therefore choking off their capacity to connect to other clients.
The most recent set of attacks had ceased on the Saturday prior to the new Internet connection going online.
Utilizing two or more internet service providers has been a common tactic for many companies to defend against internet failures or attacks; it has been known that North Korea solely relying on one single connection had always left them rather vulnerable.
In fact during the 2014 cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, which was suspected to have been perpetrated by North Korea, the entire country found itself without internet, allegedly due to US retaliation. In fact North Korea has been linked to several major cyber attacks including those against some banks.
This is possibly the result of increased strain with US-Russia relations. Some experts are saying this could help Russia win more favorable viewing with North Korea and allow for an interpretation of U.S. intervention in North Korea as an aggression against Russia.