North Korea has secured a second internet connection with the outside world via Russia. The news has many cyber security experts worried of future cyberattacks.
Dyn Research, which monitors international internet traffic flows, said it detected Russian telecommunications company TransTeleCom routing North Korean traffic since October 1. Previously traffic was handled via China Unicom under a deal dating back to 2010.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, TransTeleCom declined to confirm any new routing deal with the North Korean government or its communications arm. In a statement, it said: “TransTeleCom has historically had a junction of trunk networks with North Korea under an agreement with Korea Posts and Telecommunications Corp signed in 2009.”
According to Reuters, North Korea’s internet access is estimated to be limited to somewhere between a few hundred and just over 1,000 connections. These connections are vital for coordinating the country’s cyberattacks, said Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for the Asia-Pacific region at FireEye, a cyber-security company.
Boland said the Russian connection would enhance North Korea’s ability to command future cyberattacks.
Reuters noted that western governments have previously blamed North Korea for several cyberattacks, including attacks against banks and Sony Pictures, as well as the WannaCry ransomware attack that froze computers unless their owners sent cash. North Korea has denied any involvement.