Shocking, Kim Jong-un’s North Korea just has 28 websites of its own
In a world that is increasingly globally interconnected with websites and domains, we have more than 140 million .com and .net domains to surf. Add to this the millions of websites for each country code top-level domain, or ccTLD, such as .de for Germany, .cn for China, .in for India and so on.
So we should assume that the secluded and godforsaken communist holdout, North Korea may have a decent number of websites operating through its top-level country domain .kp. We were wrong, North Korea has only 28 websites operating using its top-level country domain, .kp.
The usually hidden data came to light when by mistake, North Korea misconfigured its nameserver, leaking the list that holds information on all of the domains that exist for .kp, allowing anyone to query it and get the list. The snafu by North Korea’s system administrators which was first revealed by Motherboard, allowed anyone to ask the country’s nameserver and get information about the web services in the isolated kingdom.
“Now we have a complete list of domain names for the country and it’s surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) very small,” Matt Bryant, a security engineer who found out about the mistake, told Motherboard in an email.
The information that the reticent country owned only 28 domains became a butt of jokes on various tech forums. “I hope for the head of the NK chief propaganda minister that the grand divine dictator’s internet does not break down with all the traffic from Hacker News,” a user on Hacker News joked.
All the 28 websites using .kp were owned by the Government of North Korea, which is not surprising considering the iron like grip Kim Jong-un and his palsies have over the state. Most of the websites are pretty antique as can be seen from the image of the website state-owned Air Koryo airline, or that of the Kim Il Sung University.
“Kim Jong Un Sends Birthday Spreads to Veteran Scholars,” reads one headline.
Another proclaims: “Narcotic-related Crimes Increase among S. Korean Youngsters.”
One user from Hacker News wrote that friend.com.kp seems to be a Facebook clone while other, portal.net.kp appears to be a Yahoo clone, and korfilm.com.kp looks like a clone of movie4k, a piracy website.
Seems pretty nutty for the country to have only 28 websites using its top-level domain considering the fact that it has a full-fledged hacking unit called Bureau 121, home to the best hackers in North Korea and set up with the only purpose of hacking South Korean and Western targets.