North Korea error opens door to fake Twitter account

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, Twitter
Image caption,
The fake account contains unflattering images of the North Korean Supreme Leader and calls him an obscene name in Korean

An error on a state-run North Korean website means that users can click through to a Twitter account attacking the government.

The Our Nation School website, which teaches its readers about the philosophy of former North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung, should point to the @Juche_School Twitter account, but instead links to @Juche_School1, an account run by an online prankster who identifies as Cyber Anakin, the North Korea Tech website reports.

"I saw that their Twitter username they linked on their website is vacant," Cyber Anakin said, "so I pulled off the prank". The fake account features unflattering images of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, as well as criticisms of Pyongyang's poor human rights record.

North Korean citizens have no access to the global internet, and Our Nation School is aimed at an audience outside North Korea.

Twitter and other social media services are not available within North Korea itself.

Image source, Our Nation School
Image caption,
Our Nation School, like many other N Korean websites, features Kim Jong-un's name in slightly larger, bold text

Motivated by Kim Jong-nam death

Contacted by the BBC, Cyber Anakin says their motivation was the death of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017, widely thought to have been a state-led assassination by North Korea.

Two women are on trial over his death, but claim they were duped into the attack thinking it was part of a prank for a TV programme.

Cyber Anakin also claims to have hacked the website for the US branch of the Korean Friendship Association, a pro-regime group that publishes pro-Pyongyang articles and promotes holidays in North Korea.

As of 12 April, the China-based, North Korea-run Our Nation School is still linking to the spoof account.

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