Pyongyang gets Internet boost from Russian firm

SEOUL • A state-owned Russian company has opened up a second Internet connection for North Korea, which could strengthen Pyongyang's cyber capabilities and undermine American efforts to isolate the regime, security experts said.

The activation of the new line from TransTeleCom was first detected on Sunday by analysts at Dyn Research, which monitors global Internet connectivity.

The new link supplements the existing one provided by China Unicom, which has almost exclusively routed North Korean Internet traffic since 2010.

It gives Pyongyang "significantly more resilience against attacks on their network infrastructure", said Mr Bryce Boland, the chief technology officer in the Asia-Pacific for cyber-security firm FireEye.

The Washington Post reported earlier that the United States Cyber Command had carried out attacks against hackers in North Korea aimed at cutting off their access to the Internet.

The operation ended last Saturday, the report said.

North Korea has a 6,800-strong unit of trained cyber-warfare specialists, according to Seoul's Defence Ministry, and has been accused of launching high-profile cyber attacks, including the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Pyongyang gets Internet boost from Russian firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe