At around 10 p.m. pacific time on Monday, North Korea accidentally opened access to its nameserver long enough for an American security engineer to take a look at all of the websites registered to the secretive government. And apparently, North Korea — a country that is no fan of the Internet — has only 28 registered domain names for its top-level domain suffix, .kp.
“Now we have a complete list of domain names for the country and it’s surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) very small,” Matt Bryant, the security engineer who discovered the mistake, told Motherboard. Bryant dumped all of the information he gathered about North Korea’s minuscule web on GitHub.
Bryant said he caught the error and downloaded the data because he scans all top-level domains for exactly these sort of issues. Because many governments keep their domain name servers (DNS) confidential, he likes to grab it when it becomes available. “The shorter version is just that I’m a nerd who’s obsessed with DNS,” he said.
Users on the website Hacker News have been combing through North Korea’s registered domains, most of which are pretty commonplace. For example, North Korea owns domains for its state-owned Air Koryo airline and Kim Il Sung University. The state-owned official newspaper of North Korea’s communist party was also readily available for perusal, with headlines such as “Kim Jong Un Sends Birthday Spreads to Veteran Scholars” and “Narcotic-related Crimes Increase among S. Korean Youngsters.” Hacker News users were able to spot North Korean clones of Facebook, Yahoo, and movie4k, a movie pirating website.