According to 38 North, a North Korea monitoring programme, TransTeleCom—a company owned by Russia—has provided the Kim Jong Un’s government with a new Internet connection. This Russian connection has been corroborated cyber security experts as well. This move not only bolsters the network protection capabilities of North Korea at a time of intensified tensions with the United States of America, but also minimises its dependence on China.
According to what experts have to say, earlier, Internet traffic in North Korea was channelled through a single link provided by China Unicorn—a Chinese telecommunications firm; however, now, North Korea is getting help from Russia.
This change of status quo makes more sense at a time when the U.S. has been pressuring Chinese companies to break off business ties with North Korea; such a measure is due to the controversial nuclear and missile tests conducted by North Korea.
According to Martyn Williams, who heads the website called North Korea Tech and who also wrote for 38 North, in order to cut off the country, two countries would have to stop business.
In a brief dialogue with CNN, TransTeleCom stated that it had signed a deal with North Korea in 2009 that established telecommunications links with the country. However, the company refused to elucidate the statement.
North Korea’s cyber security strength is augmented by the new Internet connection endorsed by TransTeleCom. According to Bryce Boland, cyber security expert with FireEye, with the increase in number of Internet connections across and beyond the country, there is an inevitable improvement with regards to resilience to cyber-attacks. News pertaining to the Russian aide succeeds the news involving operations conducted by the U.S. Cyber Command that attempted to target hackers associated with the military spy agency of North Korea.
Moreover, alleged by cyber security experts, North Korea is presumed to have perpetrated a number of infamous attacks on global level. Also, things may become more complex with Russia backing up North Korea’s Internet; assault strategies made against North Korean computer servers and hackers may indirectly impact Russia’s Internet foundation and infrastructure.
According to Bryce Boland, any sort of attack on North Korea by the U.S. could be viewed as an exasperating manoeuvre against Russia. This would lead to a potential upsurge in tensions between Russia and the U.S.
Russia’s railway company, owned and monitored by the Russian government, owns TransTeleCom. TransTeleCom has fibre optic cables that spread across the length of Russia’s main train lines, including the border of North Korea as well. Russia assumes more power and influence with North Korea by promoting Internet traffic for Kim Jong Un’s reign.