back to article NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

North Korea has sent a stern request to foreign embassies, asking them to stop using WiFi and satellite internet services within their walls. reports that the hermit kingdom's State Radio Regulatory Department has written to diplomatic missions to remind them that licences are required to operate radio equipment. …

  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

    It'll be curious to see how far North Korea will go on this. As embassies, under the Vienna Convention, the people within are supposed to possess some latitude in regards to matters within their walls, but NK could also say their affairs are affecting things outside the walls and declare the people responsible for these "breaches" personae non gratae.

    1. Gray Ham

      Although diplomatic communications are protected under the Convention, missions are only permitted to install and use wireless transmitters with the host government's consent. I expect missions will comply, rather than have permission withdrawn.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Personae no gratae

      Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

      Reply from bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=42

      Reply from bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=42

      Reply from bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=42

      Reply from PNG

      Reply from PNG

      Reply from PNG

  2. silent_count

    Looking at who does have an embassy in NK, I imagine the Russians and Chinese would tell Pyongyang where to go and the others would sooner shut up shop and go home before they give the North Koreans access to their communications. This is weak sabre rattling because Kim Jong-un found out that Julian Assange had more column inches devoted to him in the past few weeks.

    1. Suricou Raven

      It wouldn't be hard to get an encrypted link even over a horrible NK phone line. NK is so locked down that ordinary people can't make international calls, but I'm sure embassies have some way. They couldn't function otherwise. It would be a huge inconvenience for the embassy staff though, who would be all but cut-off from the rest of the world.

  3. Trollslayer Silver badge


    Satellite phone with a data plan.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Easy

      From TFA:

      "Embassies therefore need to switch off satellite connections to the internet"

    2. Mr. Flibble

      Re: Easy

      Good luck with that.

      Iridium block access from North Korea due to the embargo. Inmarsat is similar, so there's not much choice left....

  4. jake Silver badge

    Who the fuck cares?

    North Korea (as a government) is absolutely meaningless on the world stage.

    I cry for the stifled people and culture.

    1. aBloke FromEarth

      Re: Who the fuck cares?

      The irony of you going to the effort of writing a comment (and thereby negating your "who cares?") aside...

      I suspect the embassy workers do care. And the few UN teams that are there. Visitors who do international business need to access the outside world, too (not just Russian/Chinese but you'd be surprised how many foreign companies operate in NK).

  5. Velv Silver badge


    Doesn't sound like the government knows much about spying.

    Tardy sysadmins "accidentally" leave open wifi hotspots.

    Locals "find" open connections and have access to the uncontrolled Internet

    NK spies didn't think to slurp the traffic and catch the "rebels". Even google figured out there was a benefit to capturing all passing wifi traffic for later analysis

    1. GavinC

      You can't slurp satellite data, unless you own the satellite. Hence why NORK is cracking down on it's use. I'm sure they will quickly propose a wired solution through their own ISP as an alternative...

      1. Brian Miller

        When 60 Minutes ran a piece on the CIA, they received a rebuttal from the CIA before the news segment had been broadcast. The CIA had been monitoring the satellite feeds used for editing the shows...

        1. Brad Ackerman
          Black Helicopters

          The good old days of TVRO BUDs

          Back in the prime of C-band antennas, there were plenty of people who liked to watch all those feeds (editing, backhaul, whatever). I don't know how old the story you refer to is, but I'd guess that somebody, who may or may not have been affiliated with the agency, was watching the feed in an unofficial capacity and passed on the information to CIA's public affairs office.

          (Did the clipping services monitor those feeds as well? If so, the pre-broadcast feed could have been obtained that way.)

          Since there's no icon for "I guess this comment makes me an old fart", it's black helicopters.

          1. Hud Dunlap

            Re: The good old days of TVRO BUDs

            Hey El Reg. We need an old fart icon.

            1. Scroticus Canis

              Re: "Hey El Reg. We need an old fart icon"

              I'll second that. So who's mugshot would we use for an icon? Let have a plebiscite on it!

              (note to the Met. Fuzz - plebicite is a vote of the common people, just a educated word for election or referendum)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the good news is, if you use iOS8 in PyongYang

    then luckily iOS8* randomises your Wi-Fi MAC address - prior to connection to the Wi-Fi network.

    So as you walk around then you won't immediately be SMERSHed.... but as your Wi-Fi connection device otherwise has a worldwide unique MAC address - as soon as the NK counter-intel have slurped/airmon'ed enough 'free' Wi-Fi packets then their Netizens will have had it. Terminal.

    *of course, for all I know it's death-by-stoning to have a device capable of running iOS8!

    the alternative is to use TAILS, small 'nix netbook, download MACchanger

    # macchanger -m b3:a5:0e:56:ed:f2 eth0

    Current MAC: 31:cd:cb:6c:62:cd (unknown)

    Faked MAC: b3:a5:0e:56:ed:f2 (unknown)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    foreign embassies

    I didn't think they have any left?

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