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Previously funneling its entire traffic through China, Pyongyang now has a second provider, owned by the Russian government.3 October 2017
A Russian state-owned telecommunications company has supplied North Korea with a new Internet connection, expanding Pyongyang's capacity to conduct and protect itself from cyberattacks.
Russian company TransTeleCom is providing the new service, which became active Sunday, as first reported by the website 38 North, a project by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University
The move boosts North Korea’s online strength amid ongoing tensions with the United States sparked by its nuclear development program. In recent years, Pyongyang has also been subject to repeated accusations by the West – which the regime has denied – of high-profile cyberattacks against banks, Sony Pictures, as well as the worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack.
“In practical terms, [having multiple connections] will allow additional resiliency if one of those connections were to be rendered inactive for any number of reasons,” Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Oracle Dyn, told The Washington Post.
TransTeleCom will now handle the majority of North Korean traffic, roughly 60 percent, with China Unicom being responsible for the remaining 40 percent, Reuters reports, citing Dyn.
In a statement, a spokesman for TransTeleCom did not confirm or deny a new routing deal with North Korea.
“TTK has historically had a backbone network interface with North Korea under an agreement with Korea Posts and Telecommunications Corp struck in 2009,” the statement read.
According to The Washington Post, TransTeleCom is part of the state-owned Russian railway operator, which has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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