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
North korea missile launch fail
Sony suffered a massive data breach last week, shutting down its servers and reportedly exposing tons of sensitive company information. And the driving factor behind that hack might’ve been a joke.Sony’s “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is set to open next month and centers around a talk show host and his producer setting out to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. This failed to amuse the country’s leadership.The theory that the hack might’ve come from North Korea’s government was reported by Re/code, which says Sony and security agencies are looking into “the theory that the hack may have been carried out by third parties operating out of China on North Korea’s behalf.”North Korea has previously voiced displeasure over the film, saying its release would be an “act of war.” Sony later chose to tone down portions of the film.While North Korea’s conventional military prowess is … [Read more...] about North Korea suspected in Sony cyber attack
In the two weeks or so since Sony Pictures was hit by hackers, speculation has been rife about who was behind the attack, as well as the subsequent data dumps that’ve been landing on the Web since.The finger of blame has been pointing confidently at North Korea for much of the time, after all, messages purporting to be from the hackers have been demanding Sony Pictures cancel the release of The Interview, a movie about a CIA plot to take out the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.However, a senior FBI official said on Tuesday that “at this point” there is “no attribution to North Korea,” confirmation that investigations over the past two weeks have so far failed to find any link.The evaluation was made by Joe Demarest, assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, who was speaking at a cybersecurity conference sponsored by Bloomberg Government.His words will no doubt be welcomed by the North Korean regime, which over the weekend issued a … [Read more...] about FBI says there’s no evidence linking North Korea to Sony hack ‘at this point’
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has landed back in Beijing after a controversial and somewhat mysterious trip to North Korea.At a press conference on Thursday (local time), Schmidt said he had urged the secretive state’s authorities to become more open and give its citizens freedom to use the Internet or face continued hardship.“As the world is becoming increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world, their economic growth and so forth,” the Google chairman told reporters at Beijing airport.He added, “It will make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear. The government has to do something. It has to make it possible for the people to use the Internet. It is their choice now. It is, in my view, time for them to start or else they will remain behind.”In a country of 25 million, only a few thousand are thought to have access to the Internet.The … [Read more...] about Google chairman urges North Korea to end Internet censorship
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
Informatics The North launched its first and only satellite in 2012. The claim that it is working on another, made in an interview last week with an AP Television crew in Pyongyang, comes amid a flurry of attention to the country's fledgling space agency, including a visit by leader Kim Jong Un to a new satellite control center that was repeatedly broadcast on North Korean TV early last month."We are developing a more advanced Earth observation satellite and when it's complete, before launching it, we will inform international organizations and other countries," Paek Chang Ho, vice director of the scientific research and development department of the North's space agency, said in the interview.Paek did not provide further details of what the satellite will do, how close it is to completion, when development began or when the next launch might be.Speculation the North may be planning a rocket launch to mark the 70th anniversary this October of the ruling Korean Workers Party heated up … [Read more...] about North Korea Developing New Satellite, Defends Space Program
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
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?