On Monday 19 September, security engineer and researcher Matt Bryant found something you don't usually see on the internet.
No, nothing mucky. He found a list of websites the citizens of North Korea are able to access. All 28 of them.
While internet services are available in the country, it was only in 2010 that connections became widely available - and even then with strict controls exercised over who has access to websites. Journalists have been granted permission to use web services while visiting the nation, while some government workers are believed to have access to an "open" internet.
As to what everyone else with a connection to North Korea's tightly controlled web services could see wasn't fully appreciated - until Bryant noticed that North Korea had mucked up some settings on something called a 'nameserver': a list of all the website names registered to North Korean ".kp" domains (their version of ".co.uk").
"Now we have a complete list of domain names for the country and it's surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) very small," Bryant told Motherboard.
Here's the full list from Reddit:
- http://airkoryo.com.kp - Air Koryo. A flight ticket website.
- http://cooks.org.kp - Korean Dishes. Culinary website with recipes.
- http://friend.com.kp - Friend. Appears to be something similar to Yahoo and MSN.
- http://gnu.rep.kp - National Unity. A sort of religious group or well-being group.
- http://kass.org.kp - Korean Association of Social Scientists. Not sure, but I think it's an education website for both school and adult education courses maybe.
- http://kcna.kp - Korean Central News Agency. Yet another news website.
- http://kiyctc.com.kp - Korean International Youth and Children's Travel Company. I guess a travel company of both youth and children.
- http://knic.com.kp - Korean People Total Insurance Company. Insurance company.
- http://koredufund.org.kp - Korea Education Fund. Appears to be a charity to increase the quality of education.
- http://korelcfund.org.kp - Korea Elderly Care Fund. A charity for the elderly.
- http://korfilm.com.kp - KorFilms - Pyongang International Film Festival. The film website.
- http://ma.gov.kp - Maritime Administration of Korea. Laws of the water can be found here.
- http://masikryong.com.kp - currently can't access
- http://naenara.com.kp - Naenara. - This is actually the "official" government site in the sense of a description of the country. It has plenty of news articles but it contains a decent amount of (tourist oriented?) information about the country (thanks /u/tinoh124 for the correction).
- http://nta.gov.kp - Korea Tourism. The Korean Tourism board, looks like you can get tours from here.
- http://portal.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://rcc.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://rep.kp - currently can't access
- http://rodong.rep.kp - Rodong. Official news website. Click here to view the Rodong website in the user-friendly Western version, thanks again to /u/tinoh124 for this.
- http://ryongnamsan.edu.kp - Kim Il Sung University. - The university's website.
- http://sdprk.org.kp - Sports Chosun. - The sports website.
- http://silibank.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://star-co.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://star-di.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://star.co.kp - currently can't access
- http://star.edu.kp - currently can't access
- http://star.net.kp - currently can't access
- http://vok.rep.kp - Voice Of Korea. A news website.
If you try typing most of those websites into your web browser, you'll probably not get very far: it's thought that spikes in traffic registered after word of the blunder spread has seen North Korea's system administrators shut most of the sites down (inevitably awaiting the unholy wrath from their supreme leader), but many of the URLs are pretty self explanatory: cooks.org.kp lists cooking recipes, while friend.com.kp is North Korea's preferred social network. korfilm.com.kp gives access to some approved films.
The bulk of the sites link to propaganda news pages, presenting stories about the nation's recent achievements and warnings against South Korea and the Western world. As for what they look like? Basic. Really basic.