Earlier today, we were talking about a TL;DR topic in the car about some common misconceptions about Korea, which we thought would make for a cool video. The last idea that we thought of for that video was about the awesomeness of Korea’s internet. We talked about it for such a long time that we realized, hey, we’ve been talking about this long enough for a full TL;DR, so why not do it as its own video?

So, here we are, and I hope that we’re clear with how we feel about Korean internet. Yes, we love it in many, many ways, and I’ll still pick it over the internet in any other country in the world, except for – maybe – Japan, which we’ve experienced as delightfully fast and not as hindered – but that was only from the perspective as tourists. I’m not sure if Japan’s internet has as many security flaws as Korea’s. Anyhow, even though this video talks about the negatives of Korea’s internet, we simply offer that as a counterbalance to the perception that Korea’s internet is glorious. It’s great in many ways, and flawed in many ways as well.

Another thing we find really interesting: I have no idea how the Korean news is reacting to Korea’s security breaches. Didn’t Target in the US recently get its customer data compromised? Didn’t everyone in the news loooooose their miiiinds? How would they react to a bank losing half of the country’s info, or for a major telecom to have its data compromised as well? I’m not sure. Just asking. Another thing: is it that Korea’s security just sucks, or is it that Korea’s hackers just have crazy mad hacking skills, and if they went to, say, Canada, they’d be living like kings from all the hacking they can do? Anyone in the IT field have any insight into this? Oh, and for the record, we weren’t joking about that letter we showed you. All of our info was leaked from KT. Great…

Some of you might be wondering why porn is banned here in Korea. From what we’ve heard, there was supposedly a horrific murder case in Korea, and they found porn on the murderer’s computer. So, the conclusion was that watching porn makes you bad. Is that how it was? I’m not sure, but if that’s the case, I’m sure they found kimchi in his fridge as well, but I’m still waiting on the kimchi ban to be suggested.

One thing we didn’t talk about for Korean internet practices: Hangul Word Press. Hangul Freaking Word Press! Oh God, how I hate hwp files! If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically Microsoft Word, but for Korea. It’s its own software, and, instead of exporting .pdfs or .doc files, it exports .hwp files, and the only freaking thing that can open .hwp files is Hangul Word Press. BUUUUT you can’t install it on Mac, and you can’t install it if you don’t know Korean enough. You might think, oh no big deal: it’s made for Koreans in Korea. Fine. I’m ok with that. What I’m not ok with is government websites aimed for foreigners, that put Visa application forms, or different tourism documents, in hwp format! Come on! If you’re making it for foreigners, make it a PDF! YYEEAERGGGHHH!

**Edit** I was just sent an email from a friend who said there’s an app to view hwp files on the Mac. I never used it yet, but it exists

Another small issue we have is this: we’d love to hire a web developer. Our site is very dynamic, and we’re constantly adding a bunch of different things to it, tweaking it here and there. Our web developer is totally awesome, but he lives in the US. We thought, hey, let’s get a web developer here in Korea. Should be easy enough, right? There are lots of programmers here. Lots! Just…none of them can code for WordPress. It’s just not common enough here. No one has enough experience (or, we just can’t find them!).

There are lots of people who blog in Korea, but a big portion of those blogs are on Naver or Daum. Self-hosting your blog isn’t that common, because free services are available on really popular platforms. So why host your own blog? For us, stuff like our KpopCharts and KpopAwards, and other functionality we’re building in right now, requires a lot of customization, which publicly hosted blogs don’t really offer. I’ll stop nerd-talking here: point is, we couldn’t find a web developer here in Korea.

Anyhow, that’s it for our talk on Korea’s internet scene here. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. If you’re Korean here in Korea, are you finding issues with the internet here as well or is it great for you? How about those real name verification laws, eh? And if you’re outside of Korea, what’s your internet situation like? We’d love to compare notes :D

Other than that, make sure you click on this button below, right here. It makes your internets faster!

  1. I live in New York City but go to school in boston where there is free wifi on campus. For New york, most of the time the internet is fast but when the weather is bad, it can be tempermental and literally the satellite signal for the company that provides internet can be completely out. For example in 2003, new york city experienced a huge black out and the internet was not working for weeks. For Boston, the internet is definitely more consistent because it’s a lot more high tech and bad weather causing internet shortages is not a problem.When I was in China, using the internet to look at international websites like youtube was impossible but using the internet in Japan was so easy.I think for the internet, it depends who the internet providers are catering towards and what restrictions the government has placed on the internet in whatever country a person happens to be in.

  2. The Korean internet is for Koreans and for doing things Koreans like to do. I felt locked out of a whole online gaming universe when I was in Korea. I found it so much easier to do and get the things I wanted when in the UK, because things made sense and they had content I was interested in, and the speed difference? Not much when you’re on cablemodem. I’m capable of reading about Korean politics and K-pop stars on naver, but why would I want to?

    At least now most sites recognize waygookin ids, tho.

  3. ahh I wish we would have such fast internet! I live in The Netherlands and, well, internet is not really fast here haha xD But, on the other hand, not much sites are blocked, like, I can easily download movies and music from the internet (I absolutely NEVER do this!! *cough*), I even get porn advertisements whenever I download them >_< Im not a big fan of downloading (korean) music from the internet, because i'd rather buy the album legally from kpopmart.com or other stores (because then I can TOUCH them AND I will get a photocard with the album :3 hehe), but whenever I dont have the money I download some albums (i feel stupid now xD haha). Also, this is something I saw on TV not so long ago, It's really easy here for people to hack your computer. There was this documentary on TV about this subject and there was a man who simply bought a router somewhere, and went to the starbucks and this router picked up the WIFI signal of the Starbucks and hacked it, so everyone who thought they were connected to the starbucks WIFI, actually were connected to this router/thing! And this man could see everything from all these people, like, what they were doing on their computer or mobile phone, passwords, everything! sometimes even peoples adresses and phonenumbers etc O.o It's so creepy! Now that I know this, I don't want to use public WIFI spots anymore because there is this chance of someone hacking your device/computer…
    BTW, I am currently studying Graphical Design in Rotterdam (almost finished though, just finished my exams) and after this I am going to study interactive media, so how to build websites and apps and stuff, so im going to learn about all these codes (html, javascript etc.). I already have my own wordpress blog and as soon as i know how to build my own website I want to change my wordpress blog into a more professional blog, I mean, get a domain and stuff, because I now have this ".wordpress.com" domain. I also really love to edit videos, that's why I also make vlogs ^-^ My dream is to study design in korea, video editing and webdesign and i'm also learning korean at the moment :) And I just had this thought, wouldn't it be awesome for me to help you guys with your website and stuff! haha I think that would be a dream coming true, since i totally love korea and i love designing stuff! haha But yeah, I first need to finish my study now :) Im 20 and I just have 1 more year to go, or, well, I am finished with my study in 3 weeks, but there is this one extra year for me to learn about interactive media :) For now my dream is to visit south-korea, go on holiday there and (ofcourse) visit the EatYourKimchi studio~ :D
    Greetings and much love,
    Arlette from The Netherlands

    P.s. I have met you guys in Amsterdam last October when you guys were here and I made this graffiti-like drawing which i saw in one of your videos in the background! hehe :D (I must say, I have spazzed a bit when I actually saw my drawing in one of your videos! haha its so awesome~ ^-^ I hope you guys will come back here soon!)

  4. I’m lucky that both my parents are pretty computer effecient, but when I lived with a host family in Germany I had to help them with a lot of basic computer usage. Once they wanted to make pretty text on Word for my host sister’s confirmation, and they just gave me the computer and had me do it (first time using Word in German, so I had to keep referencing my computer). They were pretty impressed at my basic computer skills, and I said it’s because in the US we have computer classes at school, so we learn the basics up until like 5th grade. In Germany they don’t have that, but my host family agreed that they should.

    Speaking of Germany (this is getting long), my internet in Germany was slower than in the US, but I think it’s because my host family lived in the middle of nowhere, and in the US I live near a major city.

  5. In Russia, we don’t need to look for porn – it’s right there for us on every single website (well, almost). Whenever I go on to a Russian website, say, to read an article or to find lyrics to a song or something like that, those steamy ads are ALL OVER the thing. So whenever I’m browsing, I’m just doing it from my mac and using an adblock, which usually hides all that stuff. It’s funny because one time I referred my American teacher to a website with actual decent information on it, and then the next day he comes up to me and goes, “Did you refer me to a porn site?!” (and he looked at it at the school, too).

  6. What about Dailymotion? When Internet is slow, I usually just use Keepvid[DOT]com to download Youtube videos and Dailymotions videos. Does that work for you? oo.

  7. Well the funny fact of Korean policy is that there are many restrictions on porn but not many on illegal downloading…

  8. I don’t know if it would work for google chrome in SKorea, but I use the Hola Better Internet app… It unblocks websites for me here in the US. For instance- I can watch full episodes on BBC1, the actual British version. I can also load the Canadian or UK Netflix databases, and switch back and forth between them (they have different programming available). Anyways, maybe that would work to get around blocked stuff?

    P/S the internet in US is super slow for the price we pay :(

  9. Getting online banking set up in China is such a pain in the rear, specifically if you aren’t Chinese because you don’t have an ID card. A lot of online areas don’t want to accept passport numbers. Speaking of ID’s you can’t use most internet cafes unless you have a Chinese ID. Internet here on the mainland is a pain, no youtube, netflix, facebook, wordpress, some articles mainly complaining about china on BBC just don’t exist and wikipedia works once in a blue moon. If you try to use google maps to get directions in any Chinese cities it is awful so you are better off using Baidu. Thank goodness I pay for my lovely VPN. *Music* VPN, yay, VPN, I love you, VPN, your awesome!

  10. Can you change the IP address? I mean, if you change your IP address from another country, can you use this services?

  11. True story. In the US. My boss’s nephew was visiting from Korea recently, and he had to borrow my PC to register for all of his classes because his household only owned Macs. Victory for PC’s!

  12. You guys go into your computers command prompt and delete the isps throttling youtube. Idk what specific isps to block because I don’t live in korea but you can google it.

  13. That’s nothing. At Nonhyub Bank’s employment page, you can’t input your university’s name directly. You have to choose a name of a university from a list. It is stupid and redundant. If your university is not on the list, you have to message the HR person directly and wait until they add your university’s name on the list.

    That isn’t the dumbest part. The dumbest part is they forgot to add Harvard, Cornell, Yale, and Stanford to their University list. So if a Ivy League graduate wanted to

  14. This TL;DR is bring back horrible flashbacks of my time in Korea. Try buying Big Bang tickets on G-Market using a Mac. Yeah, not gonna happen. Or transferring money using Woori Bank’s English website. No, sorry, that option is only available on the Korean version.

  15. P.S. Magic Jack works GREAT over here:)

  16. Internet in Israel is very fast and so cheap:) Having internet on your phone is cheap and having it be a “hot spot” is no extra cost. (Unlike where I lived in the US where you had to pay a LOT more for both of these things). Lovin’ it:) Easy to watch my favorite American shows too. Israel doesn’t block too much unless it’s security related. There they seem to be scary good. Oh, and they use PDF:)

  17. THERE ARE NO KOREAN DRAMAS IN KOREA? WHAT? why cant you watch it??…..
    well, the internet in dubai is pretty fast too, except there are payment levels…if you are rich you get the fastest one..if your not, well…you just suffer. and they block most of the sites here too, ofcourse the 18+ content websites, but they also block other random websites like ‘fallenarchangel’…thats the website for the book ‘hush hush’ and i really want to use but its really randomly blocked, once they tired to block tumblr…everybody on the internet protested so bad!!

  18. SOOOO since tomorrow is April Fools Day, how do people celebrate it in Korea??? :D APRIL FOOLS DAY SPECIAALLLL

  19. Just had to share this: “H. Jon Benjamin (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Archer”) stars in this exclusive animated adaptation of the famed McSweeney’s Internet Tendency piece, “In Which I Fix My Girlfriend’s Grandparents’ WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero,” by Mike Lacher. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21OwTUEiGGM

  20. So how do u watch videos in korea then? Do they have their own website like youku in china? Is there a lot of illegal downloading and piracy? Or will you get prosecuted if u do?

  21. The Department of Revenue for the great state that I live in was hacked. Everyone who had filed taxes in the past 3 or so years got sent letters letting them know that all their personal information was compromised. They also gave us all a free year of identity theft protection software.

  22. I’m not sure if this is the best place to ask this, but could you guys make a video talking about your favorite trot songs? I really like trot songs (they’re so fun!), but I’m not sure where to look for really good ones. Thanks!

  23. Hey EYK Crew! i love love love anything having to do with Korea-esp the cutesy stuffs like the clothes, and animal pillows, and cupcake decals that y’all had in your apartment. Can you talk about where to get that kind of stuff in North America or the interwebs?

  24. when you first came to Korea was it different from how you thought it would be?

  25. The Censorship thing is just sad to me. I looked up censorship in South Korea, and according to wikipedia (which, let’s be honest, might totally be wrong), it says that it deletes blog posts that criticize the president and just completely shuts down websites that are anti-conscription and LGBT related.

    It’s probably because I’m American, but I just cannot understand why you would censor those things. Just because people talk about it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Seriously, if American Politics teaches you anything, it’s that people just like blowing smoke up your ass and talking some major booty chatter. Man, that’s just some North Korea stuff right there. If the people of North Korea could get on the internet. Or had computers. Or electricity.

  26. I love your videos. I’m always entertained and learn interesting things at the same time :D

  27. Living in Canada, visit Korea every year. Totally agree with you. Have to get help from somebody to buy something on internet.

    To see Netflix or Hulu, try ‘mediahint’ It works great to watch USA Netfilx or Hulu in Canada. Haven’t tried in Korea yet.

  28. Korea may have super fast internet speed (my country ties with Japan according to netindex.com ) but all that restrictions and blocking are just ridiculous. I could never deal with Youtube taking forever to load. If only Korea wasn’t so strict on their citizens. If a kid wants to play games past midnight, let them do it! There’d be a massive outrage if that happened here. The only sites I can think of that are blocked here in Sweden are child pornography sites (as they should be) and hate websites that promote death to certain people, i.e. the Westboro Baptist Church. It’s actually not blocked but geez…

  29. Where I live in the states, I currently pay around $54 for 25Mbps down/5Mbps service. There is a rumor floating around that they are supposed to double the speed, but I haven’t seen it yet. As far as I know, the closest thing I can get to basic KR speeds is a 150 down/65Mbps up for $135 a month! It’s either that or move to a city that has “the glorious shining savior” known as Google Fiber. Anyways, what does it really matter when the different providers are trying throttle certain services over their own services, therefore making things like Netflix slower than lets say your cable providers streaming service. (Net Neutrality is a big can of worms in the US)

    As for the ActiveX thing, I really do hope that more Korean companies would just ditch it. It’s an old, outdated, a huge security risk. Hell, I would not be surprised if that the majority of the companies that were hacked was because their websites had malicious ActiveX programs as hidden ads. Probably most common folk would pass the bad program as just another piece of crap they have to deal with. That’s how I remember it when I used to work as tech support trying to clean out nasty viruses.

    Most websites, in the western world, use a secure HTTPS connection between you and the website (a la Bank of America) that is either encrypted in 128 bit or 256 bit encryption. Last time I checked, you will need very expensive hardware that the NSA has or you’ll be waiting for decades to decode a 128 bit encrypted file. Hopefully, with support for Windows XP ending in literally months, I think it will finally start a trend with them moving away from ActiveX.

    Anyways, aren’t VPN’s great? The funny thing is that I actually use a Korean VPN to try to get access into KR websites to watch live TV from KBS or get proper service from Melon. I wish that these KR companies wouldn’t rely so strongly on Alien ID’s so I can get paid access to Melon or Naver Music. Yes, I would give money to have access to their entire catalog of music for streaming and downloading like I currently do for Spotify. Hell, maybe the over reliance of having to give out ID numbers for the simplest of services is why you hear the abundant stories of companies getting hacked. Most of the time, companies would have an outside contractor who’s sole purpose is to handle sensitive data. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of these hacks are because of either negligence or ignorance.

  30. lol, i was going to say that you’re exaggerating about the internet in Canada until i just tried to load a 6 second video on tumblr that took 5 min to play properly… damn it. (mind you, it IS the tumblr video player after all..)

  31. why no korean dramas in korea! D:

  32. Woah…you can’t FFXIV D:

    I will tell you now it is AMAZING. Patch 2.2 just came out and Levithan and Gilgamesh happened and the character designs are amazing!

    It’s sad that you’re missing out Simon D: Although I remember a bunch of people playing on my server (Because it’s the hijacked English speaking Oceanic/Asia server because we don’t have one) who are from South Korea. But I guess they’re using proxies and PC’s rather than a Console version of the game.

    NZ internet is pretty good. May just be because my town is having fibre put in now…and is ahead of the rest of the country (until they finish their Gigatown competition).

  33. Guys can you please talk about what happened to Leeteuk. Is it truth that his father killed himself and his grandparents??? I heard some stories but I’m not sure if they are real. Please explain ! !

  34. Could you reply and tell me more about the VPN that Simon was singing about? Like, what is it? What does it do?

  35. You guys should try using virtual machines for the ActiveX stuff. Parallels for Mac is pretty good and you can install inside the VM windows XP or whatever and access your banking without buying an old laptop xD

  36. I work for a US Goverment agency and they were still using Active X up until recently. Actually, I bet it is still running in the background, lol. In good news, my government computer has just been upgraded from XP to Windows 7!

    So sorry about the porn. It is so ubiquitous here in the US, it is easy to assume that that was how the whole world’s internet was. “A friend of mine” noticed that Japanese porn often has the genitals pixellated so you can’t see anything. Um…fail?

  37. Finally this year, NH Bank in Korea made their online banking website for foreigners compatible for Google Chrome. For the longest time, I had to use IE just for online banking.

  38. Forgot about online shopping! Ugh… When I lived in Korea, my friends and I ordered things off qng.co.kr
    Made an account, paid with a debit card, got a confirmation e-mail…. and then my stuff wouldn’t arrive.
    Turns out, because we’re foreigners, we can’t use a debit card, has to be a direct bank transfer.

    And of course all this information is on some obscure page under customer forums, all in Korean.
    The same process would repeat every time we ordered something. -______-;;;;

    Also, anyone else bothered by all the MOVING THUMBNAILS on Korean sites? (especially when shopping)

  39. Ban on porn… This makes sense now: Frozen Flower, Changing Partners, 5 Senses of Eros. They’re all soft porn.

  40. Well at least it sounds like Simon has the ol’ VPN Client functioning. There are even utilities like Hola for Chrome and Firefox these days that can quick switch the country of origin directly from your browser to be able to surf as if you were from that country (which is especially useful for Netflix which offers different content per country).

    On topic of ActiveX, I want to say it was defunct at least a decade ago, due to it being the most compromised aspect of _anything_ on the internet. By now even the hacking utilities themselves (in use by those with illicit intentions) are probably antiquated. However, the usage of which pretty much falls directly into the hands of the web developers themselves when it comes to things like online shopping and banking. Something tells me ActiveX is still in use in Korea because most of those online institutions have not yet licensed modern protocols. And I hate to sound like an a-hole, but it’s the one thing they really can’t just copy/pirate and reuse.

    With regards to google maps, I imagine there is still some holdup when it comes to all that pertinent data because of the litigation surrounding the so-called information gathering Google did. The Korean government wants Google to delete that information they gathered now! Grrr!

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