The North Korean Facebook Clone Has Already Been Hacked

Everything can be hacked on the internet, even newly-created Facebook clones hosted in North Korea.

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May 27 2016, 10:30pm

Image: (stephan)/Flickr

You don't need to be an ancient social media site to get hacked on the internet.

On Friday, we first reported on a mysterious Facebook clone hosted in North Korea. A mere few hours later, someone had already hacked the site.

I was posting links to the James Franco and Seth Rogen movie The Interview, which famously mocked North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un, on my newly-created account when I noticed something strange. On the bottom of the window, under the "Friends Suggestions" box, there was a "Sponsored" box containing a peculiar message.

"Uh, I didn't create this site just found the login," wrote an 18-year-old college student from Scotland named Andrew McKean.

McKean was able to become an admin for the site just by clicking on the "Admin" link at the bottom of the site and guessing the username and password. As it turned out, McKean said, the combination was extremely predictable: "admin" and "password."

"Was easy enough," McKean told me in an online chat.

After reading Motherboard's article on the site, McKean said he looked at a demo for the off-the-shelf Facebook clone called phpDolphin and noticed that the default credentials for an admin were "admin" and "password," so he tried his luck on the North Korean site.

"I don't know why, but i just wanted to check if it worked, after all this Facebook clone site was new and not much had been done to it," he said, adding that he had "no plans" to do much more with it, other than perhaps redirect the site to an anti-North Korean site.

In any case, the admin account gave him practically full control of the site. With it, he could "delete and suspend users, change the site's name, censor certain words and manage the eventual ads, and see everyone's emails, according to McKean. In the backend, he was also able to see the name of the site, which was "Best Korea's Social Network."

The fate of the site, just like its origin, is totally unclear at this point. Doug Madory, a researcher at Dyn and one of the first ones who spotted the site, expects it to be taken offline soon.

Either way, the future of the site, at least in part, is now in the hands of a Scottish teen.