Short Bytes: Two researchers have uncovered the dark secrets of North Korea’s Red Star Linux distribution. The OS fulfills North Korea’s aim to control all the information exchange in the country. These researchers called the spying features implemented in Red Star “a wet dream of a surveillance state dictator”.Linux Kernel is one of the biggest open source projects on planet. To suit one’s purpose, anyone can customize it and use it. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the North Korean dictatorship chose Linux to build its own operating system that would spy on its citizens.
Red Star OS, North Korea’s own Linux distribution allows the users to see what their governments wants them to see. However, two researchers have presented an in-depth analysis of a leaked version of Red Star OS 3. “We found that the features implemented in Red Star OS are the wet dream of a surveillance state dictator,” said Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess.
The Red Star Linux OS comes with a plethora of surveillance tools. All the documents and multimedia files are watermarked to make their tracking easier. Its inbuilt antivirus software and web browser point to the internal government servers.
According to the researchers, even though the OS is built on top of Linux Kernel, it comes with the charming looks of Mac OS X. It has got multiple safeguarding methods to protect its system files that included sudden reboot if the system detects any changes.
“Angae means “Fog” in Korean. The term is widely used in parts of custom code used by the Red Star OS. We will lift the fog on the internals of North Korea’s operating system,” the researchers write.
The researchers believe that the OS is made to keep North Koreans isolated. With its Red Star OS, North Korea works to abuse the principles of free software and uses it to suppress free speech. And to do this, they are using a software that is supposed to support free speech. Well, it’s irony at its best.
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