Inside North Korea’s Naenara Browser
Up until a few weeks ago, the number of people outside of North Korea who gave much thought to the Internet infrastructure in that country was vanishingly small. But the speculation about the Sony hack has fixed that, and now a security researcher has taken a hard look at the national browser used in North Korea and found more than a little weirdness.
The Naenara browser is part of the Red Star operating system used in North Korea and it’s a derivative of an outdated version of Mozilla Firefox. The country is known to tightly control the communications and activities of its citizens and that extends online, as well. Robert Hansen, vice president of WhiteHat Labs at WhiteHat Security, and an accomplished security researcher, recently got a copy of Naenara and began looking at its behavior, and he immediately realized that every time the browser loads, its first move is to make a request to a non-routable IP address, http://10.76.1.11. That address is not reachable from networks outside the DPRK.
“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,” Hansen wrote in a blog post detailing his findings. “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!”
What that does is give North Korean officials the ability to control exactly what traffic gets in and out of the country’s network.
“One can presume that the intent of this huge local country-wide LAN would be to limit what users can access and also limit what can be accessed by outsiders,” Hansen said by email.
Simplicity, as they say, is elegance. It strikes me that the horde of fainting goats that populates the Social Justice hysteriasphere are pushing the most complex and inelegant solutions for their most basic of needs, the Safe Space, when their spiritual mentors in North Korea had the right idea a long time ago…
Why bother with all of the headaches of blockbots that need manual updating? Batallions of
state censors moderators to filter content for the frail? A standing army of Sturmabteilung to dogpile and mass-ToS-complain dissident voices offline? Calling in bomb threats to gatherings where prohibited speech is flaunted? Having to hide from all scrutiny, criticism and responsibility when babbling preposterous babble? North Korea has dispensed with the need for any of these measures, and even rendered the concept of the blacklist rendundant, with one fix-all, blanket solution – the whitelist.
The Internet, by intentional design, is a tool of unbridled patriarchal oppression. The horrifying reality is that, given it is an open network, it is designed to route around any and all blockages – therefore all opinion, no matter how heterodox, is free to be voiced and, worse yet, all correct opinion is open to criticism or even mockery. The internet utilises the public Internet Protocol address space – meaning any machine connected to the internet can route to any other machine that is also connected. It is the single most destructive machine to ideological purity ever devised – and it is justifiably feared by right-thinking people the world over.
An early corollary to the public internet space was the private internet space, soon to be known by the generic (though not always technically correct) moniker intranet: reserved sets of IP address ranges that were not routable to from the public network infrastructure. Without specifically configured address translating gateways, no one can see into a private network nor anyone see out. The network is a bubble quarantined away from the greater public network. It is a safe space.
This is what North Korea uses for its version of the internet – a single Class A private network. Pure, safe and sterile. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. No mess, no fuss. No blockbots needed, nor moderators, nor filters nor any other kind of controls. All public content is effectively blacklisted by default, and permissible content can be whitelisted as required once approved for public consumption by the Party commissariat. Everything that is not prohibited is mandatory. Utopia unlocked.
It seems to me that this kind of
echo chamber network would be a panacea for even the most persnickety SJW out there. Yet no one has seemed to have thought of it. It is a project well worth investigating – I for one would donate generously and promote it 110%. I’d even donate a testicle. I’d give anything, really.
The day I never have to see any of these whiny, imagination free, professional victim shitsacks ever again can’t come soon enough.
The grown-ups just want to be left alone.