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Lone U.S. hacker claims credit for North Korea’s countrywide internet outages

He’s dictating the terms.

A U.S. hacker working solo claims he’s the person behind multiple internet outages across North Korea in the past month.

The man, identified only by the handle “P4X,” said he was targeted by a North Korean government hacking scheme last year and was upset enough to fight back, tech magazine Wired reported.

North Korea experts noted the various countrywide internet down periods in January. Some suspected the outages were connected to the country’s recent missile launches, perhaps a “please stop” signal from the U.S.

But P4X’s screen recordings proved he was behind the attacks, according to Wired. The man claimed that because of the tiny dictatorship’s outdated internet technology and small cyber infrastructure, it wasn’t really that hard.

“For me, this is like the size of a small-to-medium (cybersecurity beaching test),” he told Wired. “It’s pretty interesting how easy it was to actually have some effect in there.”

Access to the internet is severely limited in North Korea, and observers believe only a few dozen websites are hosted inside the isolated nation, Wired reported. But P4X was still able to take them all down in his revenge campaign.

In January 2021, Google’s threat analytics group posted an announcement about hacks targeting private sector security researchers, which came from “a government-backed entity based in North Korea.”

After a quick personal investigation, P4X realized he was one of the security researchers that Kim Jong-un’s regime was apparently interested in, according to Wired. So he fought back.

“It felt like the right thing to do here,” he told the magazine. “I want them to understand that if you come at us, it means some of your infrastructure is going down for a while.”

P4X said his goal was to simply annoy the North Korean government, counting that as success given that he was working alone from his office.

“I definitely wanted to affect the people as little as possible and the government as much as possible,” he told Wired, comparing the effort to “tearing down government banners or defacing buildings.”

The North Korean government did not comment on the internet outages and has not responded to the Wired report. No one else has claimed responsibility for the country’s internet problems.

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