North Korea Only Has 28 Websites (Sad!)

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The world got a sneak peek at North Korea's secretive Internet service this week, which we now know includes a grand total of 28 websites.

On Sept. 19, one of North Korea's top-level nameservers was incorrectly configured to reveal a list of websites under the .kp domain. Security engineer Matt Bryant discovered the data and posted it to GitHub.

"One of North Korea's top-level nameservers was accidentally configured to allow global [domain name system] zone transfers," the file description says. "This allows anyone who performs [a zone transfer] request to the country's ns2.kptc.kp nameserver to get a copy of the nation's top-level DNS data."

Many of the sites seem fairly commonplace by global Web standards: Air Koryo airline, Korean recipes, insurance company, elderly care fund, Pyongyang International Film Festival, Kim Il Sung University. But some, as Motherboard points out, offer deeper insight into government propaganda: the website for the country's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, includes headlines like "Kim Jong Un Sends Birthday Spreads to Veteran Scholars." A full list was shared to Reddit, though a number of links are still inaccessible.

"We now have a complete list of domain names for the country and it's surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) very small," Bryant told Motherboard.

North Koreans have very limited to non-existent access to the Web. In 2008, the government launched Koryolink, a 3G mobile service offering voice calls in major cities and rail routes; locals, however, could still not place international calls or connect to the Web. Five years later, global visitors to the country were allowed to access Koryolink's 3G services on mobile devices.

In April, North Korea formally banned Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and South Korean websites, as well as gambling and porn services.

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