News outlets have raised concerns over the reliability of defector testimony after Shin Dong-hyuk recanted part of his story this week. For Pyongyang, this is a welcome distraction from its crimes, writes Michael Kirby, chair of the UN inquiry into North Korea’s human rights abuses.
North Korea didn’t get a direct mention during President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 20, but Obama did take on the issue of computer hacking — something that has been put on the U.S. agenda since the November 2014 attack on Sony Pictures.
The U.S. government has blamed North Korea for the action and he mentioned nation-state attacks during the speech.
“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” Obama said. “We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.” More >
A U.S.-based group says a launch it is sponsoring of balloons carrying copies of the Sony Pictures movie “The Interview” into North Korea will go ahead, despite threats against it by the North Korean government.
The Human Rights Foundation said on Monday that the launch, performed by the group Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK), would take place sometime this week. Park Sang Hak, who heads the FFNK, had earlier told local media that he was considering halting the launch after threats against him.
“Despite these and previous threats, HRF will proceed with launching balloons carrying leaflets, transistor radios, media and cultural artifacts into North Korea this week, as part of a broader effort to help defector groups break the Kim regime’s monopoly on information,” The Human Rights Foundation said in a statement.
Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” takes on North Korea in its latest episode, scheduled for broadcast on Al Jazeera America on January 19, 2015, at 9pm ET.
The 30-minute program called “Hidden State: Inside North Korea,” is based around a 2014 reporting trip to the country by Teresa Bo. Bo is a former Latin American correspondent for the network and now works on the award-winning documentary series. More >
The U.S. National Security Agency had access to internal North Korean computer networks before the attack on Sony Pictures, according to a report by The New York Times. That access enabled the U.S. to conclude, with confidence, that North Korea was responsible for the hack on Sony.
The report quotes interviews with former U.S. and foreign officials, computer experts briefed on the matter and an intelligence agency document that was recently published by the German news magazine Der Spiegel.
The New York Times doesn’t go into any technical details on the level of access or how it was done, but the document does. More >
Korean Central Television (조선중앙방송), North Korea’s main national television station, has begun high-definition broadcasting.
The TV station has been available in standard definition via the Thaicom satellite for more than 15 years, and earlier in January a second high-definition feed of the TV station appeared.
Kim Jong-un’s regime is not coming in from the cold just yet, and an increasingly prosperous capital stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the country
Hackers have hit a Facebook page for North Korean airline Air Koryo replacing it with messages in support of Islamic State militants and against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The page shot to fame earlier in the year when it began replying to user comments and questions about trips to North Korea. It claimed to be the airline’s official page, but appeared to be run by an Air Koryo agent in Russia.
The hack came a day after a similar attack on the Facebook and Twitter pages of U.S. Central Command. Hackers typically gain access to Facebook accounts by tricking users into giving away their passwords or by gaining access to their email accounts and then sending password reset messages. More >