Someone in North Korea has created a Facebook clone – Best Korea's Social Network – which allows anyone in any country to create an account. This has happened in a country where access to the internet is restricted to the country's elite party members and their families.
Doug Madory, a researcher at Dyn, a company that monitors internet use and access around the world, traced the server that holds the website to the isolated country. He says the cloned site was created using phpDolphin, a template-based software system that lets anyone build a clone of Facebook.
"It's very unusual to have websites hosted in North Korea. I'm not sure if this was an official North Korean government project but someone inside the country had to have done this," said Madory.
As access to and the use of the internet is heavily restricted in North Korea, any online activity from the region is usually suspected as having originated from the country's communist government. Only a few people are allowed to use the internet and their use is monitored constantly.
This indicates that even if the government did not have anything to do with the creation of the site directly it is most likely aware that it exists.
One possibility is that North Korea is testing a social network for the country. Cuba – another communist country – has also created its own Facebook clone that only works within the Caribbean nation. Best Korea's Social Network is open to to everyone, but access could be restricted to only those inside North Korea at a later date.
North Korea's military has formed a highly skilled and well-resourced cyberwarfare unit, which reportedly includes some of the world's best hackers. North Korea also released its own desktop computer operating system, Red Star OS, which is a heavily restricted version of Linux.