Red Star OS was revealed in early 2015 as North Korea’s operating system after it was snuck back to the states by ex-google employee Will Scott. Since then the operating system has been under investigation and most recently a pair of german researchers have released their information regarding the operating system.
While the operating system may look like a copy of Mac OS X this seems to just be a fancy skin that does nothing more than conceal the Fedora Linux base that the system is built upon. While an open source operating system at heart, Fedora has been modified with several pieces of technology that are made to help track potential security risks from the country.
Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of the German IT security company ERNW GmbH revealed some interesting information regarding their “marking” tactics. The specifics of this watermarking tactic means that every document located within the computer is watermarked, including devices that are temporarily connected to the system, such as by a USB stick. While this may seem like a good idea this applies to all files and is “done stealthily and touches files you haven’t even opened”.
The operating system also includes heavily locked down settings, meaning that even trying to alter things such as virus checkers or firewalls results in either an error message or an instant reboot.