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23 Sep 2016

Reddit internet traffic brings down North Korea's internet

North Korea's internet service came to a standstill when links to websites available in North Korea were posted online on Reddit.

The resultant internet traffic from curious users from around the world overloaded North Korea's internet servers.

North Korea offers only 28 websites to its people.

In context

A glimpse into North Korea's websites

A previous instance of disruption of internet in North Korea

North Korea's internet service had faced a shut down two years back in 2014. The shut down was the result of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) on the country's servers. The attack was believed to have originated in the U.S.

The websites

What was the content in the North Korean websites?

While having only 28 websites does not give room for much variety, North Korea's websites do have diverse services, in its own limited way.

The websites featured a flight ticket booking site, a recipe site, a service akin to MSN and Yahoo, an insurance company site, a film website, a tourism site, a sports site, several official news sites, among others.

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GTA V has more websites than North Korea

In a rather interesting revelation, a Reddit user said that GTA V, the fifth installment of the popular video game series Grand Theft Auto, featured more websites than North Korea. The game offered 83 in-game websites as opposed to North Korea's 28.


How a user gained access to North Korea's internet services

North Korea's dearth of internet websites demonstrates how the Kim Jong Un government monitors the flow of information within North Korea's borders.

Yet, although internet in North Korea is tightly controlled by the authoritarian government, a technical slip up allowed a GitHub user to access North Korean websites from outside.

Consequently, the links were posted on Reddit allowing the world to get a glimpse.

GitHub user explains access to North Korea's websites

"One of North Korea's top level name servers was accidentally configured to allow global [Domain Name System] transfers. This allows anyone who performs [a zone transfer request] to the country's ns2.kptc.kp name server to get a copy of the nation's top level DNS data."

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