North Korea is known for a lot of things, chief among them is its peoples total isolation from outside influences such as the internet. North Koreans, or around the 10% of the country that lives comfortably, instead, mostly, has access to the North Korean intranet – the Kwangmyong.
This post just shows a few interesting things I found about North Korea’s internet.
Since September 2007, North Korea has had the ccTLD (country-code top-level-domain) .kp, following its ISO-3166 code of KP. North Korea initially applied in 2004, though ICANN refused due to it not meeting some requirements. It once again applied in 2006, though this was also denied.
After North Korea finally got its ccTLD in September 2007, it took 3 years for North Korea to get the domain registration system to function.
International registration of domains is strictly forbidden, and, in fact, Start Joint Venture Company, a government owned enterprise whom runs .kp, no longer even has a website. The closest thing that can be found today is an archive of star.co.kp from 2011.
.kp does not have a WHOIS server; though this is not that uncommon for under-developed, poor countries, it is far more uncommon to not even have a web-based version,.
Domain registration is allowed under several second-level domains:
|.aca.kp||Academic and research institutes|
|.com.kp||Mostly commercial organisations, and some government propaganda agencies|
|.edu.kp||Institutions of higher education|
|.gov.kp||North Korean regime|
|.rep.kp||Party’s propaganda agencies|
|.net.kp||Network-related companies and email|
|.sca.kp||Institutes affiliated with the Ministry of Culture|
As of 2016, there were 28 registered .kp domains. These were:
airkoryo.com.kp. cooks.org.kp. friend.com.kp. gnu.rep.kp. kass.org.kp. kcna.kp. kiyctc.com.kp. knic.com.kp. koredufund.org.kp. korelcfund.org.kp. korfilm.com.kp. ma.gov.kp. masikryong.com.kp. naenara.com.kp. nta.gov.kp. portal.net.kp. rcc.net.kp. rep.kp. rodong.rep.kp. ryongnamsan.edu.kp. sdprk.org.kp. silibank.net.kp. star-co.net.kp. star-di.net.kp. star.co.kp. star.edu.kp. star.net.kp. vok.rep.kp.
It’s worth noting that we know of at-least 1 domain that has since been added: pyongyangtimes.com.kp.
From all the research I have conducted, I can only find one domain that is used for email, and it’s once again run by Star Joint Venture Company: star-co.net.kp.
On practically all North Korean websites, @star-co.net.kp email addresses can be found. For example, on the propaganda news website of pyongyangtimes.com.kp, the email address firstname.lastname@example.org can be found at the bottom.
The domain star-co.net.kp resolves to nothing as it has no IP address attached, however it does have the following DNS records:
star-co.net.kp MX smtp.star-co.net.kp 10 star-co.net.kp MX smtp2.star-co.net.kp 20
All information about anything North Korean should be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s very difficult to gather accurate information about the world’s most secretive regime, accordingly, I have cited all of my sources and have stuck to reliable information.