Heads up, dear leader: Security hole found in North Korea’s home-grown OS

North Korea is a technological island in many ways. Almost all of the country's "Internet" is run as a private network, with all connections to the greater global Internet through a collection of proxies. And the majority of the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea who have access to that network rely on the country's official operating system: a Linux variant called Red Star OS.

Red Star OS, first introduced in 2003, was originally derived from Red Hat Linux. In theory, it gave North Korea an improved level of security against outside attack—a Security Enhanced Linux operating system based on Red Hat that could enforce strict government access controls on the few who got to use it.

However, because Red Star has had so few people with access to it, one of the ironic side effects has been that security holes in the operating system may have gone undetected. And as a security researcher who tested the latest release of Red Star's desktop version reported today, one flaw in the system would allow any user to elevate their privileges to those of the system's root account and bypass all those security policies put in place by the North Korean regime.

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