North Korea has its new operating system, the Red Star OS, which is used by the population of a country NOT connected to the World Wide Web to access state media and some officially approved sites.
The operating system mirrors its political posture, characterized by a high degree of paranoia and invasive surveilling on users, according to two German researchers from the IT security company ERNW.
Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess downloaded the software from a website outside North Korea and explored the code in detail.
These are their findings:
“This is a full blown operation system where they control most of the code,” “Maybe this is a bit fear-driven,” Grunow said. “They may want to be independent of other operating systems because they fear back doors,” which might allow others to spy on them.
“It’s definitely privacy invading. It’s not transparent to the user,” Grunow said. “It’s done stealthily and touches files you haven’t even opened.”
“It really looks like they’ve just tried to build an operating system for them, and give the user a basic set of applications,” Grunow said. Including a Korean word processor, a calendar and an app for composing and transcribing music.
An authority on the spread of foreign media in North Korea, Nat Kretchun, said such efforts reflected North Korea’s realization that it needs “new ways to update their surveillance and security procedures to respond to new types of technology and new sources of information”.
Other countries have designed their own OS, including China, Russia and Cuba, the latter for example has the National Nova OS.
Let’s see if further research into Red Star OS reveals more things North Korea is planning to do, meantime give a look to their presentation:
Written by: Cordny Nederkoorn
Software test engineer, Founder TestingSaaS, a social network about researching cloud applications with a focus on forensics, software testing and security.
(Security Affairs – Red Start OS, North Korea)