The Scope of the North Korea Internet Outage

I’m sure many of you are aware of the Internet outage in North Korea. An entire country’s Internet service disrupted? On paper this may sound impressive, it may even sound like retaliation by another nation state for a hack North Korea had nothing to do with. But the outage isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds:

Chris Nicholson, a spokesman for Akamai, an Internet content delivery company, said it was difficult to pinpoint the origin of the failure, given that the company typically sees only a trickle of Internet connectivity from North Korea. The country has only 1,024 official Internet protocol addresses, though the actual number may be a little higher. That is fewer than many city blocks in New York have. The United States, by comparison, has billions of addresses.

1,024 official Internet protocol addresses for an entire nation? Damn. Obviously there aren’t a lot of connected people in that country (shocker, I know). According to Bloomberg the attack is directed at North Korea’s domain name service servers, which is cheap enough pretty much anybody could do it:

Such attacks flood Internet servers with traffic to knock infrastructure offline. In North Korea’s case, the attack appears to be aimed at the country’s domain-name service system, preventing websites from being able to resolve Internet addresses, Holden said.

It’s unlikely the attack is being carried out by the U.S., as any hacker could probably spend $200 to do it, Holden said.

This is most likely an attack being carried out by a bored teenager with a small botnet than a nation state. Then again with Sony’s recent behavior it wouldn’t surprise me a whole lot if it was doing this.