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North Korea is very secretive when it comes to letting the world know about most things that take place in the hermit state, so it was a huge surprise when a U.S.-based engineer was able to gain access to all the internet domains in the country on Tuesday night.

As it turns out, there are only 28 registered domains in North Korea.

CNBC reports that Matthew Bryant, a United States researcher who has set up an automated request asking North Korea’s main Domain Name System (DNS) server to allow access to all its registered domains, is usually disappointed as the server is configured to reject such requests. But on Tuesday, Bryant was in for a surprise when the main server — possibly due to a technical glitch — revealed to him a list of all the domain names under the domain.kp.

Soon after, the researcher dumped the data he had accessed on Github, a site that hosts computer code. This is the first time that the outside world has been able to get a peek into North Korea’s intensely secretive internet system, and while experts were already familiar with some of the websites that form it, not many knew about the extent of North Korea’s online presence.

“When North Korea brings up a new website they never publicize it. Either someone finds it by accident or it might show up in a search engine,” Martyn Williams, who runs the website North Korea tech from San Francisco, told BBC.

 

“We knew about most of these, but weren’t sure what else existed.”

North Korea's Supreme Leader's extensive list of activities are the content of one site in North Korea.

So what really exists on North Korea’s highly secretive internet network?

As can be expected, a number of these sites are dedicated to publishing state propaganda or are the online arms of the official ministerial bodies, such as the committee for cultural relations and the maritime agency, as well as official state news organisations like the Pyongyang Broadcasting Service, but there are other sites where one can learn more about the cuisines and films being produced in the hermit state. The food site, cooks.org.kp, is filled with pictures of “Korea’s famous recipes” while the film site, korfilm.com.kp, highlights the North Korean film industry. One current section on KorFilm, for example, focuses on the ongoing Pyongyang International Film Festival, where North Korean citizens can apparently watch “art films, documentaries and animated movies.”

There is also a website called Friend, which analysts believe might be North Korea’s version of a social networking site. But most sites that are mentioned in the list of the 28 domain names take a long time to upload, while some are completely inaccessible. One of the sites mentioned in the list is that of the Korean Central News Agency — the state-run propaganda site — the only website of the 28 that was accessible to users outside North Korea even before Tuesday.

Most of the sites are unsophisticated and not as slick as their Western counterparts.

“They don’t try to ape Western media. When you go on the website its obvious its news from North Korea. It’s not dressed up to look like a slick international media outlet,” Williams told BBC.

North Korea's newspaper

Among others sites mentioned in the list are an insurance site, an air travel site, a charity site for the elderly and children, as well as a couple of tourism and educational sites. Despite the websites being seemingly conceptualized to represent the various facets of North Korea, some of them are exclusively dedicated to nothing but obsessing on the cult around the leader Kim Jong-un and his family.

The site for the main newspaper Rodong Sinum, rodong.rep.kp, even has a section dedicated to Kim Jong-un’s daily activities.

Despite the findings, Western media organizations might be disappointed that none of the sites contain any information about North Korea’s mysterious intranet, that could, if accessed, be much more revealing about the inner workings of the hermit state.

A full list of North Korean websites with screenshots can be found by clicking here.

Source : http://www.inquisitr.com/

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