- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

North Korea does not exactly enjoy a reputation for openness, but this week the regime of Kim Jong-un became the first government in history to reveal every officially registered website operating in the country.

All 28 of them.

As first revealed on the tech website GitHub earlier this week, an unnamed North Korean tech administrator apparently spilled the online beans by inadvertently reconfiguring one of North Korea’s top-level name servers. The glitch allowed sharp-eyed outsiders to essentially follow a digital trail to the list of all internet domain names with the North Korea tag: .kp.

“Now we have a complete list of domain names for the country and it’s surprisingly — or perhaps unsurprisingly — very small,” GitHub’s Matt Bryant observed.

Among the domain names revealed were those for the national airline (airkoryo.com.kp); media sites such as the Pyongyang Broadcasting Service radio station (gnu.rep.kp); the national tourism agency (nta.gov.kp); Kim Il Sung University (ryongnamsan.edu.kp); and even a site for North Korean recipes (cooks.org.kp).

Screen grabs of the list were quickly posted on other tech-oriented sites, including Gizmodo, Reddit and North Korea Watch.

While its hated neighbor South Korea is regularly ranked as one of the most wired and tech-savvy countries in the world, the North under Mr. Kim has largely cut itself off from outside communications and influence in a bid to retain total political control. Satellite figures from space show the North as largely dark mass surrounded by countries lighted up by electricity and economic development.

Many of the sites and their web addresses had been previously known, experts say, but the coding error revealed for the first time every site assigned the .kp address.

And the list is unlikely to spark major security revelations — the North Korean regime maintains its own walled-off “intranet” for all sensitive internal communications, a network totally divorced from the global internet.

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