Observers monitoring North Korea have detected activation of a new internet path out of North Korea.
At 09:07:51 UTC on 1 October 2017, the country’s single internet provider, Star JV (AS131269), gained a new connection to the global internet through Russian fixed-line provider Transtelecom (AS20485), often referred to as TTK.
The new link supplements the sole Internet link the country has connecting North Korean ISP Star JV and China Unicom ISPs together.
According to Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Dyn, “the internet of North Korea is very small (four BGP routes) and reportedly only accessible by a few elites in the country. Since the appearance of AS131279 in the global routing table almost 7 years ago, Star JV has almost exclusively relied on China Unicom for its connectivity to the global internet — the only exception was its partial usage of satellite service from Intelsat between 2012 and 2013. In light of this history, a new internet connection out of North Korea is certainly a notable development.”
Another North Korea expert Martyn Williams add that “this isn’t the first time North Korea has had alternate routes for Internet connectivity. From 2012 for about a year, a second link to Star JV existed via Intelsat, an international satellite telecommunications operator, but in recent years the Chinese link has been the sole connection to Star JV. Relying on one Internet provider has always left North Korea in a precarious situation.”