We’ve known for a while now that, despite their claims, North Korea isn’t exactly the most technologically advanced place on Earth, but you’d still have thought their dear leader would have picked up some basic IT skills.
Despite the common wisdom being to always change your default password, it seems that those running North Korea’s version of Facebook, StarCon, never bothered to, allowing a British teenager to hack their servers.
The Mirror, who don’t name the teen, report that he’s studying computing at college and that he guessed the login by checking on the details of the software used to create the site.
The boy cracked the site’s fiendish security by simply using the login ‘admin’ and the default ‘password’ which gave him access to the admin page.
This gave him the power to delete and suspend users, change the site’s name, censor certain words, and even manage the adverts.
The teenager said:
I was curious and decided to visit it. The site was created using off the shelf software, so naturally I went to the vendor’s website looking at what features it had.
I came across a default username and password and though why the heck not. Once I logged in I was able to see the sites statistics, basic user information, site settings and change the site’s adverts.
I went ahead and changed the adverts saying that I found the login details then changed them to prevent anyone coming in and trying to do anything malicious.
The website, which is similar to Facebook, is pretty new and seems to have been created using software called ‘phpDolphin’.
Researchers think that the site could be a ‘trial that was inadvertently made public’.
The teenager who hacked them has a few words of advice for the totalitarian state saying: “Always test for vulnerabilities before making a site live, and of course, change the default password.”
He went on to add that he’d love to visit North Korea one day, although he thinks he may now have blown his chances.
Internet experts have commented on the strangeness of North Korea building their own Facebook site, considering that only 100 people are believed to have Internet access in the country.
Who knows, maybe Kim Jong-un got bored of having no Facebook friends and decided to make his own in a strop?
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.