Tags: north korea | red star | computer

North Korea 'Red Star' OS Spies as It Runs Comrades' Computers

Image: North Korea 'Red Star' OS Spies as It Runs Comrades' Computers

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives "field guidance" at a science and technology complex. (KCNA/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 09:23 AM

North Korea's "Red Star" computer operating system is rife with hidden features that allow the dictatorial government of Kim Jong-Un to spy on its citizens, two German researchers revealed this week.

"We found that the features implemented in Red Star OS are the wet dream of a surveillance state dictator," Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of German IT security company ERNW GmbH explained at the Chaos Communication Congress on Sunday, Yahoo reported.

"It provides a set of surveillance features like the capabilities to watermark different types of files that can be used to track the distribution of documents and multi-media files."

These tracking tools are disguised as antivirus software, and can be hard for even sophisticated computer experts to circumvent, as attempts to disable them or a built-in firewall will reboot the system.

It's believed that the watermarks are designed to track the underground exchange of foreign movies, music, and writing among citizens.

Red Star OS was first conceived by Kim Jong-Il, but has come of age under the rule of his son and heir, Kim Jong-Un. The latest version was written around 2013, and the interface looks similar to Apple's desktop operating systems.

"He said North Korea must create their own operating system and that is what they've done," said Grunow, according to the BBC.

Ironically, Grunow continued, the platform is built on Linux, a free and open-source platform.

"They are using a system that was built to promote free speech, and they are abusing it by watermarking free speech," he said.

Tests showed that programmers built a custom encryption system for the operating system, "possibly to prevent foreign agencies from inserting back doors," tech website Engadget explained.

According to Business Insider, "North Korea is not the only country to try to develop its own operating system. Cuba has its National Nova, while China, Russia and others have tried to build theirs."

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North Korea's "Red Star" computer operating system is rife with hidden features that allow the dictatorial government of Kim Jong-Un to spy on its citizens, two German researchers revealed this week.
north korea, red star, computer
317
2015-23-29
Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 09:23 AM
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