A website registered in North Korea appeared on the Internet Friday. It was a social network that looked almost just like Facebook: a blue and white color pattern, 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 testing 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 very easily: “admin” and “password.”
He guessed the username and password pretty easily: “admin” and “password”
From there, he had full control of the website. McKean told Motherboard he could “delete and suspend users, change the site’s name, censor certain words and manage the eventual ads, and see everyone’s emails.”
The hack was spotted because McKean changed one of the sponsored ad spots on the page to say “Uh, i didn’t create this site just found the login.. @mckeany_”
McKean also changed the name of the website to “Best Korea’s Social Network.”
The website is currently unreachable, 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 — refers 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.
Perhaps the mysterious North Korean social network will pop up again, but Starcon will likely take it down for good.