North Korea Hacked Him. So He Took Down Its Internet

What a great — and thought-provoking — story by Andy Greenberg:

For the past two weeks, observers of North Korea’s strange and tightly restricted corner of the internet began to notice that the country seemed to be dealing with some serious connectivity problems. On several different days, practically all of its websites—the notoriously isolated nation only has a few dozen—intermittently dropped offline en masse, from the booking site for its Air Koryo airline to Naenara, a page that serves as the official portal for dictator Kim Jong-un’s government. At least one of the central routers that allow access to the country’s networks appeared at one point to be paralyzed, crippling the Hermit Kingdom’s digital connections to the outside world.

Some North Korea watchers pointed out that the country had just carried out a series of missile tests, implying that a foreign government’s hackers might have launched a cyberattack against the rogue state to tell it to stop saber-rattling.

But responsibility for North Korea’s ongoing internet outages doesn’t lie with US Cyber Command or any other state-sponsored hacking agency. In fact, it was the work of one American man in a T-shirt, pajama pants, and slippers, sitting in his living room night after night, watching Alien movies and eating spicy corn snacks—and periodically walking over to his home office to check on the progress of the programs he was running to disrupt the internet of an entire country.

Read more at Wired about why and how a security researcher known as P4x sought revenge on North Korea. The story will make some people cheer but it should also raise questions as to whether our government did enough when security researchers were attacked by a foreign government — and what our government will do now. Will it sit back and let vigilantes strike back or what? Is our government going to put its cyberskills where its mouth is or not?

If individuals are the target of a hacking campaign and the government doesn’t show up to help them in meaningful ways, and doesn’t say to them, “Look, we’ve got something going on right now so sit tight for a while please,” then why shouldn’t individuals take matters into their own hands to protect themselves?



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