The United States Forces-Korea website was knocked offline early Tuesday morning by a hardware failure, Pentagon officials said.
Around 1:00 a.m. EDT, the site, which is managed by the Defense Department, showed up blank except for a message reading, "Network Error (gateway_error); An error occurred attempting to communicate with an HTTP or SOCKS gateway. The gateway may be temporarily unavailable, or there could be a network problem. For assistance, contact your network support team."
As of 2:30 p.m. the site was still out, at a time when many federal eyes are watching the Pacific area's physical and electronic assets closely. U.S. Forces-Korea is a shared headquarters that plans and prepares for sending combat forces to defeat adversaries in the peninsula region.
"Defense is aware that the U.S. Forces-Korea website -- www.usfk.mil -- is currently unavailable. Initial assessments indicate it is the result of a hardware failure. Communication specialists are diligently working to repair the problem to bring the site back online as soon as possible," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said.
For weeks, the North Korean government has been threatening its southern neighbor and the United States with talk of U.S.-bound missiles and plutonium production. The regime is widely accused of carrying out a cyber assault last month that froze South Korean networks supporting automatic teller machines and broadcast TV stations.
In response to Pyongyang’s aggressive oratory, the Pentagon this week moved a missile-tracking platform toward the Korean peninsula and dispatched a guided missile destroyer.
Recently, U.S. Cyber Command announced a reorganization that will produce 27 teams of combat mission forces to provide offensive planning, as well as defensive capabilities and options to geographical combatant commanders. CYBERCOM, which formed in 2010, also is creating 60 teams to defend dot-mil networks, including USFK.mil.