Red Star OS Is North Korea’s Official Operating System

Red Star OS
Image Courtesy Business Insider

Red Star OS is North Korea’s official operating system. It is based on Linux and made to look like OS X but that’s where similarities end. For the first time we’re getting details on what Red Star OS can do and what it’s like. Two German researchers, Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of German IT security company ERNW GmbH, have broken the OS down and found some interesting facts. According to the researchers, Red Star OS is not just a copy of Linux but a sophisticated proprietary operating system.

This OS is designed to suppress any and all information users have on their personal systems. It’s important to note that North Korea does not allow access to the Internet as we know it, rather they have their own state system with their own websites and a few approved outside websites. One of North Korea’s main focuses is keeping out any form of media that goes against their grain and they’ve developed methods in this OS to do just that.

Red Star OS

A North Korean operating system is seen in this screen shot taken in Seoul December 23, 2015. REUTERS/James Pearson

The Red Star operating system makes it very hard for anyone to tamper with it. If a user makes any changes to core functions — like trying to disable its antivirus checker or firewall — the computer will display an error message, or reboot itself.

Red Star also addresses a more pressing concern: cracking down on the growing underground exchange of foreign movies, music and writing.

Illegal media is usually passed from person-to-person in North Korea using USB sticks and microSD cards, making it hard for the government to track where they come from. Red Star tackles this by tagging, or watermarking, every document or media file on a computer or on any USB stick connected to it. That means that any file could be traced back to anyone who had previously opened or created the file.

According to Reuters, personal computer use in North Korea is on the rise but most systems are running Windows XP. Red Star OS would likely replace that. It’s an interesting and different world in North Korea. What do you think of Red Star OS? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  Source: Reuters
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