The Underbelly of Red Star OS Reveals Tracking Features

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.

Twelve Arrested Over Starcraft II Match-Fixing

Twelve people have been arrested following the revelation of match-fixing an illegal betting in Blizzard’s sci-fi real-time strategy Starcraft II, with lifetime bans issued to all offenders, reports Team Liquid. The Changwon Regional Prosecutor’s Office has revealed that PRIME head coach Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik) and programmers YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-Hyuk) are the most high-profile figures to have been arrested over the allegations. Brokers and financial backers behind the scenes have also been arrested.

PRIME Head Coach Gerrard is thought to have been the middle-man, co-ordinating the match fixing with brokers and fellow players, with a total of 57,000,000 KRW (Korean won) changing hands via Gerrard.

Following an investigation by Korean authorities, five matches were found to have been fixed – four played by YoDa, and one by BBoongBBoong – all taking place between January and June this year.

List of fixed matches, based on information from the official investigation

YoDa:
2015 Proleague
• 06-09 match against HerO

2015 Season 1 GSL
• 02-13 – Code S Ro16 vs Life OR TY (Gerrard named as middleman)

2015 Season 2 GSL:
• 04-01 – Code A Ro48 vs DRG
• 05-13 – Code S Ro32 vs Bbyong (Gerrard named as middleman)

BBoongBBoong:
2015 Proleague:
• 01-20 match against Flash (Gerrard named as middleman)

After the arrests, KeSPA released the following statement:

Hello, this is director Cho Man Soo of the Korean e-Sports Association. 

The association opened a disciplinary hearing today. We plan to ban Gerrard (Prime head coach) and YoDa for life and permanently suspend their licenses.

Since 2010, the association has worked alongside the rest of the industry to fight against the illegal betting that has continued to threaten the foundation of e-Sports. It is extremely regrettable that a related incident has occurred again, and we apologize to all of the fans who have shown e-Sports their love and support.

This is the association’s understanding of the situation:

Toward the end September, we confirmed that PRIME’s Gerrard and YoDa had been arrested and incarcerated by public prosecutors on charges related to illegal betting and match-fixing.

The case is currently under investigation, and as such we expect details to be released at a later time by the Prosecutor’s office. The association will actively cooperate in the investigation, and if any others are found to be involved in the case, they will be banned for life regardless of the result of a trial. Depending on the circumstances, the association may sue for damages and/or file charges on grounds of obstruction.

Since 2013, the association has enacted regular anti-corruption education for all head coaches, coaches, and players competing in Proleague. The association also received agreements from coaching staff and players that they could be subject to measures under civil and/or criminal law should they be involved in illegal betting. Furthermore, starting in 2014, we started a program reward those who reported or confessed to illicit activities, and signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the police department’s Cyber Bureau, the Korea Communications Standards Commission, and the Korea Internet Self-governance Organization for a clean e-Sports environment.

The association independently learned that Gerrard and YoDa were involved illegal betting from an anonymous source seeking a reward. While investigating the case internally, we learned that the Prosecutor’s office had made arrests and were holding an investigation, and we have been receiving legal advice since then. 

The association will pursue strong legal measures based on recent reports, and will be utterly uncompromising should investigators find any hint of connection. Going forward, the association’s stance toward illegal betting will continue to be one of zero-compromise, and we will continue to respond strongly to create a healthy e-Sports culture.

The League of Legends team SBENU, which was run by Gerrard, will be run under the association’s stewardship, and there will be no interruptions in the operations of the team. 

Once again, we apologize for worrying all of the fans of Korean e-Sports and everyone who works tirelessly for the advancement of e-Sports.

Image courtesy of Blizzard.

Sony Pictures Boss Keeps His Job After Hacking Reshuffle

Michael Lynton, the Chief Executive of Sony Pictures, has managed to survive a recent reshuffle and keep the top job. Sony decided to make some changes to their motion picture arm following the massive hack they were subject to late last year. The US Government says that North Korea was behind the incident, while others still doubt those claims.

As part of the reshuffle, Amy Pascal, former Chairperson of Sony Pictures, was asked to resign. She left the company earlier this month, marking the first big change as part of the reshuffle, supposedly initiated by Sony CEO Kaz Hirai. However, her boss, Michael Lynton, head of Sony Pictures, has managed to come away unscathed. Lynton appeared to deal with the incident well, appearing on television shortly after the hack to declare the company’s efforts in making The Interview available to view.

Sarah Pascal was faced with petitions calling for her resignation following the leaking of emails that were deemed racist by certain groups. While Sony officially said that she “resigned”, Pascal herself later said that she was “fired”.

Source: Re/code

You Can Now Download North Korea’s Operating System

Remember that North Korean OS we wrote about recently? Well now you can download and install the latest version – RedStar 3.0. ‘Slipstream’ of Pastebin who claims to have been “pulling data out of North Korea’s ass since 2014,” has shared the OS alongside a guide on how to install it.

That guide is needed too, as it appears tricky to install according to Motherboard. Even so, it’s poorly built – when it asks users for a serial number upon installation, any sequence of numbers apparently unlocks it.

As we said previously, their OS obviously isn’t going to be anything built by Microsoft, Apple or Google or any other Western company, so they’ve built their own. Well, sort of their own, because it bears a startling resemblance to Apple’s OS X.

From log in screen to the iconic dock and menu bar, it’s a complete rip-off of what appears to be OS X 10.5 Leopard. This image of file manager could easily be mistaken for an old version of Apple’s Finder.

While it’s probably easier to install on a PC, I wouldn’t recommend this as a ‘Hackintosh’ alternative. You can get your copy of Communist computer goodness here.

Source: Motherboard

Meet The Electric Supercar – For Kids

Want your little boy or girl to be the coolest kid in the neighbourhood? South Korean company Henes has announced the F870 – the electric supercar for kids.

This thing really is a miniature supercar, including shock absorbers, coil-spring suspension, differential steering, a leather racing-style seat and a and a 7-inch Android tablet entertainment system. It also has something a real supercar doesn’t have – remote control. Yes, while you may be to old to fit in this thing, you can control it via a dedicated Bluetooth Controller.

The currently yet-to-be released F870 will set parents back anything between $895 and $1,000, perhaps a reasonable price considering the usual cost of similar yet low-tech electric ride-ons. Still, it is rather garish isn’t it?

Source: The Verge

Uber CEO Could Face Up To Two Years in Jail in South Korea

Despite never actually being arrested in South Korea, the CEO and founder of the taxi app service could face up to two years in jail in the country.

Essentially, Uber is considered highly illegal in South Korea, thanks to the incredible amount of regulation in the way of becoming a licensed taxi operator. Taxi drivers themselves need to pay an accumulative 70 million won (around $63,477) just to become a registered driver.

South Korean prosecutors have indicted Travis Kalanick without him actually being arrested or appearing in court, with him facing the jail time or a 20 million won (around $18,121) fine. If he has the option of taking the fine, I think we all know which one he’ll go for.

Bizarrely, Uber continues to operate in Seoul, the South Korean capital. It’s even more bizarre when you consider that the authorities in Seoul have essentially placed a bounty on the heads of Uber drivers, offering 1 million won (about $910) to any citizen who has evidence of the service operating. They even have a “dedicated squad” that is “clamping down on Uber drivers”.

Uber has faced a tricky legal path since its inception, with intense opposition from governments and taxi drivers alike. So far, it’s seemed pretty invincible – they give off the impression that they’re above the law. It’ll be interesting to see how this latest story pans out though.

Source: The Verge

 

 

Psy’s Gangnam Style Breaks YouTube

Gangnam Style, the music video by Korean K-pop star Psy, broke YouTube’s view counter.

The video, with its staggeringly high number of views outpaced YouTube’s counter, which was previously limited to 2,147,483,647 views, thanks to its use of a 32-bit integer. Gangnam Style currently has 2,155,260,965 views at time of writing.

Google has since updated the counter to use a 64-bit integer, meaning the new limit is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, that’s over 9 quintillion.

“We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY. “Gangnam Style” has been viewed so many times we had to upgrade to a 64-bit integer (9,223,372,036,854,775,808)!”

The counter on Psy’s video now comes with a little mathematical wizardry whenever you hover your cursor over it.

I’ve never particularly understood the insane popularity of the video myself, but still, I guess it pushes Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ into second place for most watched YouTube video. That’s definitely a good thing.

Source: BBC News

Sony Hack Malware Was Written in Korean

In the seemingly never-ending story of the Sony Pictures hack, The Verge reports on the news that research by AlienLabs has revealed that the software used in the attack was written in Korean.

Jaime Blasco of AlienLabs made the discovery by delving into one of the samples of the malware released by the FBI. Apparently, the metadata from the software’s compiler, revealed that it was written on a computer that displayed Korean characters. It also revealed that the software was built only a few days before the hack itself, between November 22nd and 24th.

This is probably the strongest piece of evidence yet pointing to North Korea as the perpetrators of the hack. The news closely follows North Korea’s denial of involvement earlier today, something that not too many of us were convinced by anyway.

AlienLabs’ search also revealed a few interesting tidbits concerning how the hack was deployed, suggesting that the software wiped the company’s hard drives, took down their email and locked all of their systems up with that tacky ‘#Guardians of Peace’ graphic.

We can only wonder what else we’ll discover as this story continues to unravel.

Source: The Verge

Serious Vulnerability Found In Samsung Knox Security Suite

Samsung launched its Knox security suite earlier this year which basically creates a “container” that runs a separate execution environment for apps and data on top of Android. Therefore any apps run outside of the container can’t access their data. A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel claim that they have found a “serious vulnerability” in Samsung Knox.

Further details suggest that the newly discovered vulnerability would allow a hacker to access data in the container, which basically eliminates the entire premise that Knox is built upon. Apparently the vulnerability can be used to track emails, as well as monitor communications and steal saved data. The threat is said to exist on all smartphones based on the Knox architecture. Samsung has commented on the report, saying that it is looking into the claims made by the researchers. The company says it has found out through initial investigation that this vulnerability isn’t as severe as the researchers claim it to be.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Upcoming Google Nexus 10 – 2013 Edition Images Leaked

Two images portraying the Google Nexus 10 – 2013 Edition were leaked, according to NextPowerUp. Both pictures are property of LG which leads to the conclusion that Google and the Korean giant teamed up to make a Nexus device, and not a smartphone this time.

The rumor adds to the Google Nexus 8, which is also rumored to arrive in the coming few months, possibly made by LG as well. The LG Nexus 10, codenamed “LG-V510”, appears to be a compact 10-inch Android tablet with anorexic bezels, a trademark of almost all high-end LG products this year such as the G2, G Pad, Nexus 5, and now the Nexus 10. Also, the tablet looks to be pre-loaded with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.

The only way to be sure about whether the tablet rumor is true or not is to check if it appears on the FCC in the following months. If not, we will at least know that the rumor is not as valid as we thought it to be.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of NextPowerUp

Tizen 3.0 Features Revealed At Tizen Developer Summit

Tizen OS version 2.2.1 was announced by Samsung at their first Developer Conference as being complete and capable of being deployed on smartphones. Version 3.0 of Tizen OS was also announced, and according to the key features which are detailed below it is the most able candidate for deployment in the near future.

Key Features:

  • Updated Core and ToolChain
  • Multiple user support (Multiple user support with protection)
  • 64-bit Support (IA and ARM chips, performance improvements, larger, memory address space)
  • 3D UI framework (3D Rendering Engine for 2D and 3D Objects in the real world and Dynamic Animation library)
  • WayLand based compositor
  • Crosswalk (HTML5 based application runtime based on Chromium/Blink)

According to The Handheld Blog, the first Tizen devices will be available in stores in February 2014. Despite the advantages of Tizen 3.0, Samsung will not be able to release the handsets with the 3.0 operating system pre-installed. They will be release with the Tizen 2.2.1 operating system and Tizen 3.0 is set to be a feature update which will be come later on.

Thank you NextPowerUp and The Handheld Blog for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of The Handheld Blog

Samsung Rumored To Prepare Its Own Google Glass Gear

Samsung is rumored to release its own Google Glass gear, since it usually has a habit of releasing similar tech found at competitors that attract attention. The Korean giants may be doing that in a lab in the heart of Korea, where they are working on a product similar to Google Glass tech, but which can bear their logo. But take care, the information is merely a rumor only, and everything is to be taken with a grain of salt before starting to dream about a Samsung Galaxy Glass device.

The rumor was started by a tweet which Eldar Murtazin, Editor-in-Chief Analyst at MRG, posted. Although his  sources may or may not be accurate, going by historical data, we are more inclined to believe whatever he has tweeted today.

Therefore, whether we will really see a Galaxy Gear Glass in the April-May timeframe next year is debatable, but very likely. Google’s Project Glass is getting more positive response than the company had expected, and has certainly appealed to that section of consumers who are fascinated with Sci-Fi and high-tech gadgets that look like they are from the future. It truly seems the Future and what was considered Sci-Fi in the past will move to the High-Tech and Present sphere.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp

Humble Weekly Sale: 11 Bit Studios – Week of June 13th

For the past few weeks Humble Bundle brings us a new Weekly Bundle! This week is the same as the others, bringing us an awesome bundle of games for a low great price. This week’s bundle brings us several games, unfortunately we are only able to redeem one on Steam, Anomaly Warzone Earth. Though all of the other games are all available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android!

This week’s Humble Weekly Sale includes 5 magnificent games and some bonus content too, all from 11 bit studios.

  • Anomaly Warzone Earth
  • Anomaly Warzone Earth: Mobile Campaign
  • Sleepwalker’s Journey
  • Funky Smugglers

Beat the Average and you will receive

  • Anomaly Korea
  • Bonus Content*

* Bonus content includes

  • Anomaly 2 Mech Figurine 3D print source
  • Desktop Wallpapers

With this remarkable bundle you get to play 5 awesome games, customize your desktop with some cool wallpaper and you can even print a 3D model. You will also have access to all of the soundtracks, except for the mobile campaign, though it is most likely the same soundtrack as Warzone Earth.

If you are not familiar with the way that the Humble Bundle system works, it is really easy. Humble Bundle gives us a list of games that they offer, and you are able to get all of them for how much you want to pay by giving us

“Name Your Price” you as the customer get to name your price for the games that are offered, if you pay at least one dollar you get steam codes for the games that are available on Steam. Usually these games are also DRM free, which means that you have the ability to download them from the Humble Bundle website. Usually there is also a game or two that get if you “Beat The Average”, this means that if you pay more than the average person for the games, the bonus games are given to you.

These “Name Your Price” events also allow you to specify where the money that you pay goes. By default

  • 65% of your payment goes to the Developers of the games, if there are multiple developers the 65% is split up evenly.
  • 20% of your payment goes to charity split evenly between the charities supported.
  • 15% of your payment goes as a Humble Tip to Humble Bundle. (Which pays for bandwidth, and development of their promotions.)

There are several payment methods, these include Paypal, Amazon Payments, Google Wallet, and you also can pay with Bitcoin.

Humble Bundle primarily supports two charities the majority of the time, those two charities are Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play. I encourage you to verify and research more about these charities as you should with any charity that you might donate to.

More information on Child’s Play can be found at this website www.childsplaycharity.org/, the organization works with over 70 children’s hospitals worldwide to improve children’s lives with toys and games.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation can be found check looking at their website, www.eff.org, this organization works to secure humanities digital rights, keeping the internet free.

Special Thank you to HumbleBundle.com for continuing to bring us awesome new bundles.

Images from HumbleBundle.com as well as  EFF.org & ChildsPlayCharity.org

2 Major South Korean Banks and 3 Broadcasters Brought Down


It has been found by the officials in Seoul that the breach in Seoul’s 2 major bank and 3 broadcasting companies were traced to a server in China, a country well known to be used by North Koreans for hacking. Because of this, there has been issues risen in the country as the world’s most wired economy seems more and more vulnerable.

China’s Foreign minster said that these attacks are more of a “global issue” done by anonymous people and often cross-border. The ministry’s spokesperson said,””Hackers often use the IP addresses of other countries to carry out their attacks.”

A South Korean based government official blamed Pyongyang, North Korea as the source of the online warfare, but the police and their computer crime agency said that it will take months to verify that. Jang se-Yul, a former North Korean solider who defected to the South in 2008 said that North has 3,000 troops, including 600 professional hackers in their cyber unit.

Jang also said,”I don’t think they will stop at a temporary malfunction. North Korea can easily bring down another country in a cyber-warfare attack.”

However it should be noted that the majority of North Koreans have no access to a computer, let alone the internet as its the policy of Kim Jong-un in an effort to limit outside influence. So whoever has access to the internet is mostly used for military purposes. A nominee who is set to be South Korea’s next Intelligence chief said that it is believed that most of the 70,000 cyber attacks over his country’s public institutions over the part years are from the Noth.

The professional hackers in North Korea called “cyber-warriors” enjoy luxury apartments for the part they’ve played, defines it as the new type of warfare against South Korea.

Lee Dong-hoon, an IT security expert in Korea University, Seoul said, “”North Korea can’t invest in fighter jets or warships, but they have put all their resources into raising hackers. Qualified talent matters to cyber warfare, not technology.”

Source: Reuters