Weekly Digital News Roundup: Dec 18 – Dec 22
North Korea’s Internet Outage Highlights an Isolated Online World
- According to Wall Street Journal, after a nine-hour outage that shut off North Korea’s major propaganda websites from the outside world, service has been mostly restored, leaving questions about the possible involvement of the U.S., which promised last week to “respond proportionally” to a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. It’s also raised more basic questions about the nature of North Korea’s Internet, which while limited, gives the isolated country one of its few direct connections to the outside world.
- Some of its propaganda websites and news services are hosted domestically in North Korea, where its sites carry the “.kp” suffix and are only known to be connected to the broader Internet via China United Network Communications Group Co., better known as China Unicom.
- Even after the restoration of services in the late morning on Tuesday Pyongyang time, the services appeared to struggle with intermittent outages, which could mean that they are suffering a distributed denial of services attack, in which websites are knocked offline by a flood of useless traffic. While it is rare for ordinary citizens to have regular access to the Internet in North Korea, students at elite universities and government and military organs have regular access to the broader Internet, according to North Korean defectors.
Nearly all of Coca-Cola’s headquarters employees ditch voice mail
- According to the LA Times, all but 6% of employees at Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters and nearby technology plaza recently opted to shut off their landline voice-mail systems. The expectation is that without voice mail, employees will have one less thing to check in on. Many had already expressed a preference for doing away with it, the company said. The move is expected to save the company less than $100,000 annually.
- “The main driver behind this project is not cost savings. It is changing the tools and methods in which we communicate as a company,” spokeswoman Amanda Rosseter said in an emailed statement.
- Alternative methods include email, texting, and calling cellphones.
Apple fixes Mac security vulnerability with first-ever automatic update
- According to Mashable, Apple fixed a critical security issue in Macintosh computers with an automatic and “seamless” update on Monday. Given that the bug could have potentially allowed hackers to get control of a Mac remotely, Apple pushed the fix with its first-ever automatic update, which doesn’t require the user to do anything — in fact, the user might not even notice it.
- The issue affected the network time protocol, or NTP, a component used to synchronize clocks on Apple’s Mac OS X operating systems. The affected versions were: Mountain Lion v10.8.5, Mavericks v10.9.5 and Yosemite v10.10.1, according to Apple.
- The Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute disclosed the vulnerability in security bulletins on Friday.