The internet in North Korea is an unsurprisingly small and circumscribed place – there are just 28 TLDs on the entirety of the country’s .kp domain, compared to almost 335 million globally.
A misconfiguration early Tuesday morning allowed outsiders to get a rare look into the hermit kingdom’s vestigial online infrastructure, which is connected to the broader internet via China. It was detected by the TLDR Project, an automated, ongoing effort to track all global zone transfer requests among DNS providers, and log them to GitHub.
The project’s readme states it’s not an attempt to discourage the use of the global zone transfer in general – though this is a situational security vulnerability - but rather a way to try and catalog important information about the internet at large.
North Korea’s 28 internet domains appear to be mostly informational – several are available in English, dishing up propaganda about the decadent west and the miraculous dear leader, Kim Jong Un. However, others are less predictable, including a site offering food recipes and what appears to be the official site of the country’s film commission. (Links can be found at the GitHub post and at the Reddit thread on the topic here.) There’s also a website for Air Koryo, North Korea’s state-owned airline, the Maskiryong ski resort, and more.
Many of the sites had already been previously identified – there’s a handy listing here at North Korea Tech, and all are clearly designed to be public-facing websites – but the insight into North Korea’s digital infrastructure is still novel.
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