North Korea has been having issues with its internet for the past couple of weeks. Even though the communist country is extremely restricted, observers began noticing connectivity problems with nearly all of its websites dropping offline, Wired reported Wednesday.
One of the central routers that allowed access to North Korea’s networks appeared to be incapacitated, which effectively cut off all the digital connections to the rest of the world.
Many assumed that it was a foreign government launching cyberattacks against Pyongyang in response to its recent missile tests.
But it turned out that one American hacker, known only as P4x, was responsible for crippling North Korea’s connections, Wired reported.
The hacker launched repeated “distributed denial of service” attacks against the country, crippling its internet.
“In fact, it was the work of one American man in a T-shirt, pajama pants, and slippers, sitting in his living room night after night, watching Alien movies and eating spicy corn snacks — and periodically walking over to his home office to check on the progress of the programs he was running to disrupt the internet of an entire country,” Wired’s Andy Greenberg wrote.
The report said P4x himself had been targeted by North Korean hackers a year ago in an attack on Western security researchers “with the apparent aim of stealing their hacking tools and details about software vulnerabilities.”
The American hacker told Wired he attacked the communist country in retaliation.
P4x spoke to the outlet and shared his screen recordings to verify his responsibility for the cyberattacks.
Then he explained why he retaliated against North Korea like this.
“It felt like the right thing to do here. If they don’t see we have teeth, it’s just going to keep coming,” P4x said.
“I want them to understand that if you come at us, it means some of your infrastructure is going down for a while,” he said.
P4x told Wired he found many vulnerabilities in North Korea’s system that he said pretty easily allowed him to then launch a “denial of service” to the country.
He also said he discovered the country was using some “ancient” versions of web server software. He described North Korea’s home operating system as old and vulnerable.
The hacker said he thought his effort to annoy the communist regime was a success, adding that the country’s people, most of whom lack internet access, were not his target.
“I definitely wanted to affect the people as little as possible and the government as much as possible,” he said.
What was the overall goal of P4x’s hack?
“Regime change. No, I’m just kidding,” he told Wired. “I just want to prove a point. I want that point to be very squarely proven before I stop.”
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