North Korea Has Just 28 Internet Sites

John Lister's picture

North Korea has just 28 websites, an audit has revealed. It includes sites for education, travel and cookery.

What information was already known about the secretive country showed that it has its own Intranet: a restricted, internal network that appears to be the only information accessible to the few North Koreans with access to computers.

However, the country does have a few sites on the worldwide Internet, all with addresses ending in .kp in the same way that many Canadian sites often end in .ca. Until now, nobody was sure exactly how many such sites existed.

Full Domains List Exposed

Like other countries, North Korea maintains a domain name server (DNS). A DNS server works a little like a phone book, and matches the .kp website names to the IP address of the web server. From there, relevant web pages are stored and accessed through the Internet.

Just this past week, an American engineer configured his computer to send repeated requests to the DNS server to ask for a complete list of all the domains. Normally, the server rejects such requests, but for an unknown reason it finally supplied the list. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Most of the sites are incredibly slow to load, partly because they rely on outdated technology. At the time of writing, web users had only been able to access 18 of the 28 sites.

Charities and Insurance Firms Among Sites

Several of the sites are state run news sites, and there's also an official central government site along with a site for the Kim Il Sung University. There are also several sites that might not have been expected, including a recipe site, an insurance company, several charities, a flight booking site, a film festival site, and a list of Korea's maritime laws.

It's not entirely clear how many of the sites are aimed at North Korean citizens and how many are intended to promote the country to the wider world. In the latter case, the sites appear to have been unsuccessful so far because they've been hard to discover and access.

Online users from other countries have reacted with amusement to the sites, many of which use primitive designs reminiscent of websites from the late 1990s. One joker even pointed out that there are three times as many sites in the world of Grand Theft Auto V (a game), than there are in North Korea. (Source: reddit.com)

What's Your Opinion?

What do you think the purpose of such websites are? Would it benefit North Korea to produce more sites and make them internationally accessible? Can the Internet ever take off in an isolated country with such tight government controls?

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Comments

ifpusr's picture

the most interesting thing about this article appears to be missing

dleye_4414's picture

..agreed. Where are the links?