North Korea’s Web Browser

North Korea has its own operating system called Red Star OS. Not surprisingly it’s a distribution of Linux. What makes it interesting is that it’s the official operating system of one of the most closed nations on Earth. Recently it leaked onto the Internet and people have been playing with it. So far the most interesting article I’ve found involves the operating system’s web browser:

If you want to send a request to a web address across the country, you need to have a hostname or an IP address. Hostnames convert to IP addresses through something called DNS. So if I want to contact DNS will tell me to go to But there are certain addresses, like those that start in “10.”, “192.168.” and a few others that are reserved and meant only for internal networks – not designed to be routable on the Internet. This is sometimes a security mechanism to allow local machines to talk to one another when you don’t want them to traverse the Internet to do so.

Here’s where things start to go off the rails: what this means is that all of the DPRK’s national network is non-routable IP space. You heard me; they’re treating their entire country like some small to medium business might treat their corporate office. The entire country of North Korea is sitting on one class A network (16,777,216 addresses). I was always under the impression they were just pretending that they owned large blocks of public IP space from a networking perspective, blocking everything and selectively turning on outbound traffic via access control lists. Apparently not!

Yup, the entire country is apparently treated as one giant intranet. The zany doesn’t stop there though. Check out the article because North Korea certainly made some intriguing design decisions.