The tables may have turned on North Korea.
The reclusive country’s state-run Internet was down “hard” for 9 hours and 31 minutes today, according to Dyn Research, which monitors the state of the Internet around the globe.
“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in [North Korea] before,” Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research told the website NorthKoreaTech.org. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”
It’s not clear what caused the outage at this time.
Last week, a Twitter handle claiming to represent the hacking group Anonymous tweeted: Operation RIP North Korea, engaged. #OpRIPNK
Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, declined to comment today to journalists about the report that North Korea may have lost Internet access.
“We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” Harf said. “So I can’t confirm those reports, but in general, that’s what the president has spoken to.”
Harf called attention to the United Nation’s meeting today focused on North Korea’s human rights situation — the first time, she said, it has been a stand-alone agenda item in the Security Council.
In a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, the nonprofit advocacy group said that North Korea imposes harsh restrictions on the freedom of information. For example, the unauthorized use of Chinese mobile phones to communicate with people outside the country is punished.
The United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously established a commission of inquiry in April 2013 to investigate whether abuses in North Korea amounted to crimes against humanity. Last month, the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the U.N. report detailing crimes against humanity in North Korea and recommended that the Security Council consider a referral to the International Criminal Court.
“This is a significant step,” Harf told reporters about today’s Security Council meeting. “It will ensure continued Council attention to the human rights situation moving forward and demonstrates really the concern of the international community. I guess I’d say I’m not surprised that North Korea would seek to avoid scrutiny of I think what anyone would call an atrocious human rights record. They’ve been doing so for years. The DPRK’s heightened diplomatic activity both in New York and around the globe I think to avoid an examination of this record is pretty telling and I think probably speaks for itself.”
North Korean diplomat Kim Song told the Associated Press before the meeting started, “We totally reject the attempt” to bring the human rights issue to the council.