North Korea's Secret Computer System - Red Star OS


German computer experts have been taking a closer look at North Korea's own secret computer operating system, Red Star OS. Until now, not much has been known about it.

The Communist country runs its own operating system - an altered version of Linux. It looks and feels like a normal operating system with all the apps and software . But Red Star OS is controlled by the state . A closer look shows that it uses technology that allows authorities to spy on its citizens.

The system detects if a user wants to change thing, then automatically shuts down and reboots.It also has special security features that prevent users from other countries from hacking into it. Messages are encrypted to guarantee safe transport. Files are watermarked so that the government can see if and how users have changed them. Such security also allows authorities to find out who downloads pirated music and movies from the west.

North Korea has been working on its own operating system for years, in an effort to replace the ageing Windows XP , which many people still have installed. But nobody really knows how many North Koreans are using Red Star OS.



The communist country controls its citizens like no other state in the world. North Korea is isolated technologically from the rest of the world.There are no internet connections  to the outside . Social media and other websites cannot be accessed from within.



Related Topics



  • access = use
  • ageing = getting older
  • altered = changed
  • apps = short for application = small computer programs that do certain things
  • authorities = organization inside the government that has a lot of power
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • detect = notice, recognise
  • effort = try
  • encrypt = to put into a special code so that nobody can read it
  • feature = element
  • guarantee = promise
  • hack = to secretly find a way to get into a person's impute and change information there
  • isolated = here: separated from others
  • operating system = a system in a computer that helps all the programs in it to work together
  • pirated = illegal copies of software, music, movies etc..
  • prevent = stop
  • reboot = to start a computer up again
  • replace = to start using something instead of something else
  • secret = something  that is not known by a lot of people
  • security = safety
  • shut down = turn off
  • social media = software that allows people to create and share information, photos and documents with others around the world
  • spy = to collect information secretly
  • state = here: government
  • technology = new machines, tools and ways of doing things  that are very modern
  • watermark = special mark or sign on an electronic document, which is used to control it