A website registered in North Korea appeared on the Internet Friday. It was a social network that looked almost exactly like Facebook: a blue and white color scheme, a newsfeed, the ability to add friends, post statuses, like, comment and share.
After the news hit that the site existed, Motherboard reported that the site had been hacked by an 18-year-old college student from Scotland
After checking out the site, Andrew McKean clicked the “Admin” link at the bottom which brought up a login page. From there he guessed the username and password pretty easily: “admin” and “password.”
From there, he had full control of the website. McKean toldMotherboard he could “delete and suspend users, change thesite’s name, censor certain words and manage the eventual ads, and see everyone’s emails.”
The hack was spotted because McKean changed one of thesponsored ad spots on the page to say “Uh, i didn’t create thissite just found the login.. @mckeany_”
McKean also renamed the website to “Best Korea’s Social Network.”
The website is currently unaccessible, and it’s unknown whether McKean still has control of it.
The whole idea of the North Korean Facebook-clone is pretty interesting, because North Korea barely has access to the Internet in the first place. There are very few Internet users and many websites are blocked, including YouTube, Facebook and more.
The domain of the website — .kp — points to North Korea, but its name — starcon.net — alludes to South Korean company Starcon, which helps startups build websites. Most North Korean websites’ servers are located in China, not North Korea, so the .kp domain name is very rare.
The site itself was made using website-creator phpDolphin. Here is a demo of the Facebook clone that was used to make the North Korean version.
Perhaps the mysterious North Korean social network will pop up again, but Starcon will likely take it down for good.