A Russian blogger, identified just as Mikhail, has posted screenshots and some technical details (Russian) of Red Star, a Linux-based operating system apparently available for sale in North Korea. And Red Star isn’t just any Linux: it’s apparently loaded with hooks designed to let North Korean government watchdogs keep an eye on what users are doing.North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated regimes; Internet access tightly controlled and online content heavily censored by government watchdogs. Developing its own Linux-based operating system may be an extension of the country’s policy of self-reliance.Red Star only offers one language option—Korean, naturally. It features an email application dubbed “Pigeon” and had Firefox set up as its primary browser—the North Korean government site is configured as the default home page. The distribution also includes several games and OpenOffice applications.According to Mikhail, he bought the … [Read more...] about Red Star: North Korea’s Home-Brew Operating System?
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Things to seeArirang Festival (Mass Games)Those highly choreographed stadium performances you’ve seen in pictures and videos? That’s the Arirang Festival, which is one part arts showcase, and one part gymnastics event. It’s sort of like the Olympics, except most of the world does not participate. This is possibly the DPRK’s grandest spectacle.Ryugyong HotelDominating the Pyongyang skyline is the Ryugyong Hotel, a 105-story skyscraper shaped like a giant sci-fi pyramid. Under construction for more than 20 years, it still hasn’t opened for business.Masikryong Ski ResortThose who want to experience some North Korean powder can hit the ski resort at Masik-Ryong. Uri Tours offers ski packages, and the slopes look like any other around the world – except you’re probably trailed by real DPRK spies, just like in the Bond films. (Not so) fun fact: North Korean army labor built the resort in just 10 months.Pyongyang MetroIt’s one of the … [Read more...] about Want to fly to North Korea’s shiny new airport? No you don’t. But here’s how
North Korea has been accused of hacking South Korea’s military cyber command and stealing classified data.South Korea’s cyber command is an agency in its military for tracking and preventing cyber threats but now it finds itself hacked.“It seems the intranet server of the cyber command has been contaminated with malware,” a military official told the Yonhap News Agency. “We found that some military documents, including confidential information, have been hacked.”The military said it contained the malware but still has not yet determined how much data has been stolen. Yonhap reports the breach may force Seoul to “rewrite its military operation plans” if too much sensitive information was accessed.While the attack is being disclosed in December, concerns were first raised in August and September when one government representative claimed a server had been breached. Kim Jin-pyo, who also sits on the national defense committee, had … [Read more...] about South Korea accuses North Korea of hacking military, stealing classified data
North Korea categorically denies that it had anything to do with the recent Sony Pictures hack that some reports suggest was carried out in retaliation for the studio’s movie about the nation’s leader– though in a lengthy statement worded in its usual, grandiloquent style described the cyberattack as a “righteous deed.”Issued on Sunday by North Korea’s Policy Department of the National Defense Commission (NDC), the statement claims the regime has no idea why hackers targeted Sony, adding that it was nevertheless aware that the movie studio was producing a film “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the U.S. administration towards the DPRK.”The statement said the attack on Sony, described as a “righteous deed,” may have been the work of “supporters and sympathizers” of North Korea, adding that the actions of such … [Read more...] about North Korea insists it’s not behind Sony hack, calls it a ‘righteous deed’ anyway
North Korea now has its own Netflix-style streaming service. Sort of.The highly secretive state reportedly launched the service in recent days, offering citizens in three cities, including the capital Pyongyang, access to five streamed channels alongside a selection of on-demand content.Going with the name Manbang, which apparently means “everywhere” in Korean, the service’s set-top box is also streaming English and Russian language lessons, as well as a selection of state-approved newspaper articles.In addition, it lets users “replay documentary films about the leadership,” according to NK News, an independent media outlet that focuses on North Korean affairs. Yes, it does seem like a rather limited range of content, which by the sounds of it will mainly include features about the current leader Kim Jong-un, as well as additional programming about his father and grandfather, both of whom also led the famously isolated … [Read more...] about North Korea has just launched its own Netflix-style streaming service
North Korea has an odd Olympic spirit: on Friday the country foiled Samsung’s plan to provide its Summer Olympics athletes with free Galaxy S7 handsets — stripping them from the country’s strongest hands.Samsung’s giveaway was part of a promotion the company coordinated last week. The Korean smartphone maker, an official sponsor of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, provided 12,500 Galaxy S7 smartphones to the Games’ numerous participants — among them 11,200 athletes from 206 countries — to use during pre-game festivities on August 5.They shipped with a pre-installed “flag app” containing the digital banner colors of every participating country — including North Korea. “(The athletes) can use the entire screen of the S7 to become a flag,” Pio Schunker, a Samsung representative, told the Associated Press. “They will be waving (their) national flag through the S7.”North Korean athletes were barred … [Read more...] about North Korea confiscates Galaxy S7 devices given to its Olympic athletes
Over the last couple days, a total of 26 sites in South Korea and the United States—including the White House—have been targeted by a denial-of-service attack designed to prevent users from accessing the sites, at times effectively taking the sites offline. Now South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has said the attacks are the work of an organization or state—quite possibly North Korea. What makes the attacks unusual is that they’ve been effective for a comparatively long period of time, and, while South Korea is known for being one of the world’s most-wired nations, North Korea’s impoverished state isn’t generally considered a hotbed of cyber-warfare expertise. Now, however, South Korean intelligence apparently believes North Korea has been ramping up its online attack capability. The denial of service attacks come immediately after North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on July 4, rapidly … [Read more...] about North Korea Behind Attack on South Korea, U.S. Sites?
North Korea’s successful launch of a weather satellite on Wednesday has sparked new concerns that the threat posed by the country is greater than previously believed. Many of also discussed whether the launch marks a breach of United Nations sanctions imposed upon the state to prevent its development of nuclear and missile-based technologies.A rocket was successfully launched Wednesday at 1 a.m. GMT, with North Korean news sources reporting that the launch was intended to put a new weather satellite into orbit (It reportedly succeeded in that aim). “The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center by carrier rocket Unha-3 on Wednesday,” the Korean Central News Agency, the state’s official mouthpiece, told viewers, adding that “the satellite entered its preset orbit.” The Unha-3 rocket is estimated to have a range of approximately 10,000 kilometers, or roughly 6,213 miles – … [Read more...] about North Korea successfully launches rocket with enough range to reach Los Angeles
Google’s Eric Schmidt is on a visit to North Korea this week, though it apparently has nothing to do with his role as the web giant’s chairman. According to the man who invited him, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, the visit to one of the most secretive and repressive states on the planet is part of a humanitarian mission.“This is not a Google trip, but I’m sure he’s interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect, so this is why we are teamed up on this,” Richardson told the Associated Press.While the North Korean leaders will be well aware of Schmidt’s role as chairman of Google, the fact is that among the country’s population of around 25 million, few will have even heard of the company. Indeed, only a couple of thousand people in the isolated nation are thought to have access to the Internet, and even then any such service is tightly controlled.Richardson, who’s made made a number of visits to … [Read more...] about Google’s Eric Schmidt on a private visit to North Korea
The visit to North Korea this week by a team led by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has stirred up controversy.The U.S. State Department has criticized the move, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has described Richardson and Schmidt as "useful idiots".McCain's statement has drawn fire from readers of an article on the visit published in the Independent.Meanwhile, in a move that may further inflame the U.S. government, North Korea has claimed that the delegation paid tribute to Pyongyang's late leaders, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, the Telegraph reported.There are reportedly nine people in the group. They apparently include Richardson's daughter, Sophie, and Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank.The visit is not official but a private humanitarian mission, Richardson and Schmidt have said.It's been reported that Schmidt's interested in the social aspects of the North Korean economy.Both Richardson and Schmidt were well aware of U.S. … [Read more...] about Schmidt’s Visit May Help Open Up North Korea