North Korean Internet Outage Raises Prospect of Counter Cyber-Attack

Just days after President Obama said the U.S. would launch a “proportional response” to North Korea for the devastating cyber-attack against Sony Pictures that caused the pulling of comedy “The Interview,” the Internet in North Korea has gone dark, according to a report on Monday.

Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at network-monitoring company Dyn Research, told Bloomberg News that the Internet outage is unlike “anything [he’s] seen before.”

‘‘The situation now is they are totally offline,’’ Madory said. ‘‘I don’t know that someone is launching a cyber-attack against North Korea, but this isn’t normal for them. Usually they are up solid. It is kind of out of the ordinary. This is not like anything I’ve seen before.”

The report does not specify what caused the outage.

“We have no new information regarding North Korea today,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told Bloomberg in an email. “If in fact North Korea’s Internet has gone down, we’d refer you to that government for comment.”

On Dec. 17 Sony pulled the Christmas Day theatrical release of “The Interview,” which follows a duo attempting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after hackers threatened a 9/11-like attack on theaters that screened the comedy. On Friday the FBI announced that it concluded North Korea was “responsible” for the attack, despite previous denials of involvement from the country.

At a press conference on Friday, Obama vowed that the U.S. would respond to the cyber-attack.

“They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond,” Obama said. “We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at a press conference.”

UPDATE: In comments to the Associated Press later on Monday, a State Department spokesperson did not deny that the U.S. was involved in North Korea’s Internet outage.

“We aren’t going to discuss, you know, publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in anyway except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told the AP.

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