Pyongyang suffers an internet shutdown for nine hours, but the US denies it has anything to do with the Sony hacking case

Seoul : Key North Korean websites were back online on Tuesday after an hours-long shutdown that followed a US vow to respond to a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures that Washington blames on Pyongyang.

 The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the US government was responsible for the Internet shutdown in one of the least-wired and poorest countries in the world. Although North Korea is equipped for broadband Internet, only a small, approved segment of the population has any access to the World Wide Web.

Few North Koreans have access to computers; those who do are typically able to connect only to a domestic Intranet. Though it denies responsibility for the Sony hack, Pyongyang has called it a “righteous deed” and made clear its fury over “The Interview,” a comedy that depicts the assassination of the North’s authoritarian leader, Kim Jong Un, the head of a 1.2 million-man army and the focus of an intense cult of personality.

South Korean officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the North’s official Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, which are the main channels for official North Korea news, had earlier been down. But the websites were back up later today. Among the posts glorifying the ruling Kim family was one about Kim Jong Un visiting a catfish farm. US computer experts described the Internet outages in the North as sweeping and progressively worse.

Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn Research, an Internet performance company, said in an online post that the North came back online after a nine and a half-hour outage. Possible causes for the shutdown include an external attack on its fragile network or even just power problems, Cowie wrote. But, he added,  “We can only guess.”

 President Barack Obama has said the US government expected to respond to the Sony hack, which he described as an expensive act of “cyber vandalism” by North Korea.

Obama did not discuss details, and it was not immediately clear whether the Internet connectivity problems represented the retribution.

The US government regards its offensive cyber operations as highly classified.

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Sony threatens to sue Twitter over tweets

New York: Still recuperating from the embarrassing disclosure of several emails stolen in a hacking attack by a group called Guardians of Peace, Sony has reportedly threatened to sue Twitter unless it bans accounts that are linked to the leaks. According to The Verge, the threat was made in a letter sent by Sony lawyer David Boies to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel, stating that the company would “hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising” from the use of the stolen information.

According to Boies, his client “does not consent to Twitter’s or any Twitter account holder’s possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the Stolen Information”. “If Twitter does not comply with this request and the stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner, SPE will have no choice but to hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter,” the letter read. Sony specifically complained about Val Broeksmit, a musician who has been tweeting screen grabs of the text of Sony emails on his Twitter account at @BikiniRobotArmy.

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