Lone US Hacker Cripples Internet Service
Throughout the last few weeks of January and February 2022, North Korea’s internet service seemingly vanished. Although intermittent, the blackout of North Korea’s internet connectivity was remarkably disruptive – with cybersecurity experts going as far as claiming that the strike against North Korean servers took the entire country off the internet.
The timing of these dark web attacks corresponded precisely with the last round of missile testing, with the internet blackout occurring the day after the fifth such launch occurred. Of course, when this happened, suspicion instantly fell on nations to the west, particularly the United States of America.
In fact, the United States Cyber Command was regarded to be a prime suspect. However, it wasn’t the US doing but a single dark web hacker.
The idea of such a severe dark web attack not being a military response coordinated by a nation-state is strange. However, the attacks being linked, and carried out by a single dark web hacker seeking vengeance is the stuff of Hollywood – impossible in real life.
US Dark Web Hacker Warns N. Korea
In an interview with Wired magazine, an American dark web hacker known only as ‘P4x’ claims to be the person responsible for the blackouts. Before you say they’re just looking for their 15-minutes-of-fame, consider that Wired has seen and confirmed the evidence to back up these wild assertions. It’s terrifyingly true.
P4x, the dark web hacker, sought to send a message to the North Korean authorities, according to the Wired report. He told Wired that his motivation came from wanting the eastern nation-state to understand that targeting other countries, primarily the U.S.A, means that they might end up sacrificing the very infrastructure that makes their ‘threats’ possible in the first place.
Dark Web Hacker P4x’s ‘revenge’ on North Korea
In January 2021, Forbes reported that North Korean hackers targeted U.S. security researchers by breaching Google Chrome and Microsoft Windows defenses.
And, especially since the hacking campaign was unsuccessful in some instances. However, the dark web hacker admitted to Wired that the situation left him feeling very concerned, not just being a victim of the North Korean state-sponsored hacking, but also by the absence of a visible response from the U.S government.
Thus, he took up ‘hacktivism’ for over a year, determined to get his little slice of justice from the damages done. He took his time to prepare everything he needed to launch the current ‘denial-of-service’ assaults on the nation, after performing penetration tests against North Korean internet infrastructure systems and finding them vulnerable.
The dark web hacker stated that he also felt a sense of justice, as North Korea has been placed on notice, Kim Jong Un just can keep harassing the United States “if they don’t know we have teeth.” The same report from the Wired suggests that P4x’s revenge may not be over yet.
Reportedly, the USA dark web hacker is bent on revenge against the North Korean leader. Speculations abound, he may be planning to hack into the North Korean systems to steal information and share it with US authorities. This isn’t too hard to believe as he discovered severe vulnerabilities in unpatched servers and routers, which were mostly responsible for connecting the outside world to North Korean sites such as email services.
North Korea’s Cobra Hackers Retaliate?
Still, not everyone is onboard with P4x’s poetic justice, as stated by the current chief information security officer at threat intelligence business Cyjax. The former Canadian military intelligence specialist, Ian Thornton-Trump warn that ‘hacktivism’ or online vigilantism has always been risky. According to the security specialist, to pit yourself as an individual against a nation state is especially dangerous.
Thornton-Trump highlighted that North Korea already possesses tremendous cyber capabilities. However, he states that its leader lacks moral or ethical constraints, implying that some type of reprisal is possible.
The cyber-security analyst further emphasized his warning with a reference to Kim Jong Un’s professional dark web hackers. Accordingly, he cited, the Hidden Cobra’s name for hostile North Korean state-sponsored cyber activities, “If you poke Hidden Cobra with a cyber stick, I hope the real cobra does not dig its fangs deep into you.”