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Single Hacker Takes Down North Korean Internet While In Pajama Pants And Eating Corn Snacks

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockFeb 7 2022, 17:29 UTC
The hacker was motivated by revenge

The hacker was motivated by revenge. Image credit: BeeBright/Shutterstock.com

Most of North Korea's Internet was taken down by a single hacker, according to a recent report from Wired.

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On January 26, North Korea News reported that a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack took the "entire country" off the Internet, following on from a smaller attack on January 14.

"It’s common for one server to go offline for some periods of time, but these incidents have seen all web properties go offline concurrently," cybersecurity researcher Junade Ali, who monitors North Korean servers and websites, told Reuters. "It isn't common to see their entire internet dropped offline."

With the incidents taking place shortly after North Korean tests, it would be reasonable to assume that the attack was a response by governments opposed to the regime. However, one hacker, who has provided evidence to Wired, has claimed responsibility for the hack, telling the news organization that he conducted it from his home in the US while watching Aliens in his pajama pants and eating spicy corn snacks. 

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The hacker, named only as P4x over concerns for his safety and legal fears, claimed that he was hacked by spies during a campaign against western security researchers. Though he came away from the attack with his important data unscathed, he was disturbed by being attacked by a whole nation and what he perceived to be a lack of response from the US government.

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A year later, he decided to level the score.

“I want them to understand that if you come at us, it means some of your infrastructure is going down for a while," he told Wired.

P4x found unpatched vulnerabilities that were previously known about but was able to use them in order to launch his own DDOS attacks on servers the North Korean network depends on. One bug mishandles certain HTTP headers, allowing the hacker to run software that overwhelms the server through repeated requests. Though he didn't reveal most of his exploits, he was able to keep running scripts on any servers that remained online or began working again after the initial attack. All while watching Aliens.

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The hacker told Wired that he now plans to try to get into North Korean systems, to find information that would be useful to experts. For this, he is recruiting fellow cybersecurity experts for his project FUNK, which of course stands for "FU North Korea".

 


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