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SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said.
New Hampshire-based Dyn said the reason for the outage was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. government was not involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang.
Very few of its 24 million people have access to the Internet. However, major websites, including those of the KCNA state news agency, the main Rodong Sinmun newspaper and the main external public relations company went down for hours.
Almost all its Internet links and traffic pass through China, except, possibly, for some satellite links.
"North Korea has significantly less Internet to lose, compared to other countries with similar populations: Yemen (47 networks), Afghanistan (370 networks), or Taiwan (5,030 networks)," Dyn Research said in a report.
"And unlike these countries, North Korea maintains dependence on a single international provider, China Unicom."
"We're yet to see how stable the new connection is," Jim Cowie, chief scientist for the company, said in a telephone call after the services were restored.
"The question for the next few hours is whether it will return to the unstable fluctuations we saw before the outage."