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North Korea now has a second internet link through Russia

David Lumb

North Korea had previously gotten its internet through a hardwire to China, but that's no longer the case: Now, it has a second link to the world wide web through Russia cybersecurity firm FireEye toldBloomberg. This confirms an initial report by site 38 North that claimed the secondary connection went active on Sunday.

This gives North Korea an alternative method of accessing the internet -- which, aside from the obvious benefit of redundant access, might mitigate the damage from foreign attempts to block their service. A report on Sunday revealed that US Cybercommand had been harassing the North Korean government's hacking group with denial-of-service attacks for six months. It's unclear if their method would be as effective now that the East Asian country has a second line to the outside internet.

It also affects UN and US ability to diplomatically cut North Korea off from the internet. While the Security Council's latest sanctions restrict oil and gas coming into the country, they could at some future date have threatened North Korea's then-only link to the internet through China's state-owned China United Network Communications. Now, the UN and US would have to pressure two countries. FireEye's CTO told Bloomberg that Russia would also get something from the deal: Visibility into traffic going in and out of North Korea, giving them an idea what the country's up to.

Bloomberg