A number of websites previously only accessible from inside North Korea were briefly made available to the whole world in the early hours of this morning. Although quickly hidden again, the sites give a unique eye into North Korea's government run websites and their rather biased content.
Accessing the internet in North Korea isn't easy, whether you're a native or a visiting foreigner. However if you do get online and aren't a member of Kim Jong-Un's inner circle, there's a good chance you'll have very limited access to content. Perhaps even exclusively limited to the 28 .kp domain names that were made accessible to all for a short period of time.
Sites included propaganda news sites with stories about the Korean leader visiting farms and factories or attacking South Korea and the U.S.A.. There are also strange sites that encourage Korean air travel and tourism, neither of which are activities that many Korean nationals are able to take part in.
There's also a Korean social network called Friend.com.kp, but considering the limited access to internet in the country, it seems unlikely to be well used. Indeed it may be that these sites and services are really in place to show foreigners when they visit. North Korea has a history of attempting to fool international travellers into thinking it is prospering, despite horrific food shortages and claims of human rights violations.
The reason we were able to get this unique insight into North Korean websites, is because at 10PM on 19th September, one of the Korean top level nameservers was “accidentally configured to allow global DNS zone transfers. This allows anyone who performs an AXFR (zone transfer) request to the country's ns2.kptc.kp nameserver to get a copy of the nation's top level DNS data,” according to the person who originally found the bug in the system.
People then took that data and used it to access all sorts of Korean websites.
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KitGuru Says: I can only imagine that whoever is responsible for the Korean nameservers is in quite a precarious situation right now. Here's hoping they did it deliberately and had some kind of contingency plan.
Image source: Crave