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?
North korea food shortage
Google has added more detail to its map of North Korea this week, giving users a better glimpse into the infrastructure of the highly secretive country.Much of the map is still relatively blank compared with Google's detailed maps of other countries. In some parts, though, the map shows information such as roads, schools, parks and waterways, especially near the capital and largest city, Pyongyang. The map also features shaded areas where prison camps, or gulags, are believed to be located.The map was mostly put together by "citizen cartographers" using its Google Map Maker tool, the company said. The crowd-sourcing feature, first launched in 2008, allows users to add information such as roads, landmarks, bodies of water or buildings to existing Google Maps.Map Maker is available in more than 200 countries, but is especially useful in places like North Korea where geospatial information isn't widely available. Google said efforts to boost the country's maps have been going on for a few … [Read more...] about Google Peels Away Some of North Korea’s Mystery
Every few months, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (i.e. North Korea) wows the world with some fantastical story about how it’s developed some form of advanced military weapon, discovered a unicorn lair, or even found a revolutionary cure for diseases like AIDS, Ebola, MERS, or SARS. No big deal. So because of this, it should come as no surprise that this week, the Pyongyang Times announced that the country has successfully developed the world’s first hangover-free alcohol. Judging from the country’s continued disdain of The West (and really everyone), it’s likely North Korea keeps the exact recipe for this innovative nectar all to itself — luckily the state-run newspaper let a few of the details slip.Called Koryo Liquor, North Korea’s divine invention is the product of a top-secret blend of ginseng and a helping of glutinous rice (instead of sugar). Apparently, researchers at the country’s Taedonggang … [Read more...] about North Korea has (allegedly) engineered the world’s first hangover-free alcohol
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 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?
Upwards of 1.2 million people have used pirate sites to download Brad Pitt's World War II drama Fury, scheduled for release Dec. 25, according to Variety.That was one of five films hackers leaked onto the Web following an attack on Sony Pictures' network last week.The others are Annie, Still Alice, Mr. Turner and To Write Love on Her Arms.Sony has called in the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.Coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- the FBI on Monday warned U.S. businesses that hackers recently penetrated several companies' networks with a particularly damaging form of malware, according to a Reuters report.Sony apparently was neither identified nor excluded as one of the businesses victimized by the malware, but speculation is rife that the hack attack on the company and the FBI's warning are linked.Among other capabilities, the malware can override hard drives, shutting down and permanently disabling computers and rendering files inaccessible, the FBI reportedly said in its alert. … [Read more...] about Did North Korea Get the Last Laugh Against Sony?
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
The hactivist group Anonymous has taken on North Korea, it appears, hacking into the country's official Twitter and Flickr accounts on Wednesday. It reportedly sent out tweets ridiculing the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, and used its Flickr account to portray him in an unflattering light, to put it mildly.It appears that North Korea has regained control of its social media channels since the hack.Anonymous announced its ownership of the event on Pastebin.It cites North Korea's increasing threat to peace and freedom as the reason for its attacks, demanding that North Korea stop making nukes and nuke-threats; that Kim Jong-un resign; that the government install a free direct democracy in North Korea, and that it provide uncensored Internet access for all the citizens.It also offers an unseemly suggestion for Kim Jong-un: namely, that he investigate the various penis enlargement products on the market because "if his d*ck wasn't so small he wouldn't feel the need to create large nukes … [Read more...] about Anonymous Taunts North Korea
When we have a hostile country regularly lobbing missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again -- and that is only if we forget the issues with fallout and the potential for a nuclear winter (granted, that could be good news for the global warming folks).However, the approaches to cutting the legs out from under North Korea largely have been in-the-box thinking: economic sanctions that require China's cooperation (and aren't working); military and assassination options that would trigger retaliation that likely would result in a lot of us glowing at night; and revolution efforts that have little or no chance of succeeding.Still, there are companies that have been working on technologies that effectively could contain North Korea's missiles and turn their leader into more of a vocal than a physical problem. Since I'm on the West Coast and … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Tech Nerf North Korea?