The outage comes just days after President Barack Obama promised that the U.S. would respond "proportionally and in a place and time we choose" to a hack attack against Sony Pictures. Last week, the FBI said it had evidence that North Korea was behind the hacking attacks on Sony and threats against the company over the release of the movie The Interview.
While the nationwide outage could be the result of technical issues in North Korea, a country that struggles with infrastructure, Doug Madory, the director of internet analysis at Dyn Research, an internet performance management company, told the New York Times that the outage looked like it was the result of an attack.
"This is consistent with a DDoS attack on their routers," Madory told the New York Times.
CloudFlare, an internet company based in San Francisco, told the New York Times Monday that North Korea's internet access was "toast."
The outage also comes after the Obama administration asked China for help in blocking North Korea's ability to host cyberattacks.
Over the weekend, Sony Pictures said it was still planning on releasing The Interview, despite having stopped the movie's planned Christmas release. A method and time for the release have not been decided upon, according to an attorney for Sony.
Secretary of State spokesperson Marie Harf responded to reporters' questions today about both the rumors of the internet outage and what sort of response the U.S. might have toward North Korea. She also said that if North Korea wants to help, as officials from the country said they did over the weekend, it should compensate Sony for damages.
"We are considering a range of options in response. We aren't going to discuss publicly operational details about possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way, except to say as we implement our responses some will be seen, some may not be seen," she said when asked if the U.S. was involved in the North Korean internet outage. "I can't confirm those reports, but in general that is what the president has spoken to."
Harf went on to say that over the weekend North Korea's government said a number of things, including talking about helping with a joint investigation into the hack attack.
"If they want to help here," she said, "as they indicated over the weekend they did, then they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages this attack caused."