Posts tagged 우리민족끼리

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Hackers claim 15,000 Uriminzokkiri user records

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130401-anon-uriminzokkiriA hacker or hackers working under the umbrella of “Anonymous” claims to have broken into Uriminzokkiri.com, the North Korean-run site based in China, and taken over 15,000 user records.

A message posted online makes the claim and includes details for six accounts, apparently showing user names, e-mail addresses, birth dates, and hashed passwords.

These are passwords that have been run through an algorithm to come out as something that contains the essence of it. It’s an alternative to storing the password in plain text and helps guard against losing passwords during hacks like the one apparently conducted on Uriminzokkiri.com.

Of the six users, three have Korean names and the other three appear to be Chinese.

Four of the six users have Chinese email addresses, there’s a Hotmail address and one South Korean address that apparently belongs to KEPCO KDN, a smart-gird systems provider that’s part of the Korea Electric Power Co. But that South Korean address could be fake. If all the data in the records are to be believed, one of the users was born on June 1, 1900.

Aside from the user records, the message includes the rationale for the hack and a protest against the governments of both the United States and DPRK.

North Korean government is increasingly becoming a threat to peace and freedom. Don’t misunderstand us: As well we disagree with the USA government too – these guys are crooks, USA is a threat to world peace too, and direct democracy (or any kind of democracy) doesn’t exist there. The American government is a target and enemy of Anonymous as well!
This is not about country vs country – This is about we, the people, the 99% (of USA and of North Korea) vs oppressing and violent regimes (like USA gov. and N.K. gov)! We, the people, are gathering together because we are stronger now and we won’t fight your wars anymore, we won’t eat your shit anymore!!!

It then went on to make a series of demands:

We demand:
– N.K. government to stop making nukes and nuke-threats
– Kim Jong-un to resign
– it’s time to install a free direct democracy in North Korea
– uncensored internet access for all the citizens!

To Kim Jong-un:
So you feel the need to create large nukes and threaten half the world with them?
So you’re into demonstrations of power?, here is ours:
– We are inside your local intranets (Kwangmyong and others)
– We are inside your mailservers
– We are inside your webservers
Enjoy these few records as a proof of our access to your systems (random innocent citizens, collateral damage, because they were stupid enough to choose idiot passwords), we got all over 15k membership records of www.uriminzokkiri.com and many more. First we gonna wipe your data, then we gonna wipe your badass dictatorship “government”.

It’s worth noting that while sample data was included for Uriminzokkiri.com, there was no evidence supplied that supported the assertion that web and mail servers in North Korea or anything on the domestic intranet system had been accessed.

Getting onto the domestic intranet is highly unlikely based on our current understanding of the network. It’s believed to be totally separate from the Internet with no network link between the two for security purposes. So a proven hack would be very interesting.

The message ends:

To the citizens of North Korea we suggest to rise up and bring these motherfuckers of a oppressive government down!
We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace.
You are not alone.
Don’t fear us, we are not terrorist, we are the good guys from the internet. AnonKorea and all the other Anons are here to set you free.

The claim comes as access to North Korean websites is returning to normal after a series of attacks made them difficult or impossible to access over the weekend. The attacks took place under the Twitter hashtag #OpNorthKorea.

More are planned, for both April 19 and June 25.

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North Korea: The Podcast

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130320-uriminzokkiri-04Uriminzokkiri, the Chinese-based website that carries most of North Korea’s official propaganda output, has started a podcast and it’s available through Apple’s iTunes.

The podcast is advertised on the front page of the website with a link that jumps to an Apple iTunes page. The page currently carries ten episodes of the podcast, which is entirely in Korean and combines spoken word with music.

The episodes were uploaded between February 20 and 23 this year and range between 3 minutes and 22 minutes long. There haven’t been any updates in the last month.

It’s classified in the “News and Politics” section of iTunes’ podcasts and doesn’t appear to have attracted any listener reviews yet.

Apple requires podcasts to be approved before they appear in iTunes and it’s not clear if the Uriminzokkiri content was vetted by Apple U.S. or Korea. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

130320-uriminzokkiri-05Uriminzokkiri has been operating around 10 years and is believed to be based in Shenyang, which is close to the North Korean border. The site, which is registered to a company called “Korea 615 Shenyang,” has strong links with North Korean and carries much of the output of the state media machine and some articles of its own.

It’s proved to be the most social-media aware of all sites carrying official news.

Uriminzokkiri operates a Twitter feed with over 13,000 followers, has racked up more than 5 million video views on YouTube, and posts images from North Korea to Flickr. The podcast is advertised alongside these on the site as it’s latest way to push North Korean propaganda to the world.

It hasn’t navigated the social media space without problems.

In 2010, it attempted to gain a Facebook following but Facebook twice deleted its account. The company said it zapped the account because it was created as a personal account and not a “page,” which is required of all organizations on the site.

Most recently it achieved short-lived success with two propaganda videos. One included footage from a video game of New York City in flames and the other used a soundtrack from a different game. After a brief burst of life, the two videos were the subject of YouTube takedown requests by the copyright owners, but not before they amassed thousands of views as a result of the publicity surrounding them.

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YouTube zaps another Uriminzokkiri video

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Another Uriminzokkiri video has been removed from YouTube for copyright infringement. This time it’s a propaganda video that borrowed its soundtrack from the video game “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.”

The takedown, confirmed by a message when users attempt to access the clip, comes just two weeks after a previous propaganda video was removed after a copyright complaint by Activision. That video used a computer-generated animation clip from Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”

The latest removal comes after a copyright complaint from ZeniMax Media, a Maryland-based computer game publisher that puts out the game under its Bethesda Software division.

Uriminzokkiri regularly uses footage from foreign media in its productions. It usually goes largely unnoticed, but the Activision takedown a couple of weeks — likely as a result of coverage of the clip in the U.S. video gaming media — has meant extra eyes are now watching its output. As NKNews notes, some clips were taken from foreign TV coverage.

The Uriminzokkiri operation, which is based in China, needs to watch out that it doesn’t fall foul of YouTube’s copyright system otherwise it could lose the channel.

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Activision cuts short North Korea’s space dreams

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That didn’t last long. U.S. video game maker Activision has filed a copyright takedown demand with YouTube resulting in the removal of a video that sees a North Korean man dream of reunification, Korean domination of space and the collapse of the United States.

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Uriminzokkiri is a semi-official North Korean web site based in China. It speaks for the North Korean government and carries much of the output of state media, but it also produces its own content. The video was one such original piece.

The clip, posted on the Uriminzokkiri YouTube channel and website over the weekend, attracted a lot of interest on Tuesday. It managed to attract 460,000 views before being taken down — that’s about 10 percent of all views on the Uriminzokkiri channel.

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Part of its success was the curiosity of the video and music that accompanies the piece: a gentle piano rendition of “We Are The World,” the 1985 anthem of a U.S. campaign to help the starving of Ethiopia.

In the Uriminzokkiri video, an instrumental version of the song plays alongside an image of a North Korean rocket blasting into space. In the dream, it’s an Unha-9 rocket. Presumably that’s a more advanced version of the Unha-3 rocket that recently placed a satellite into orbit.

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I had a dream last night, a dream of soaring into space on board our Unha-9 rocket — Uriminzokkiri YouTube channel, February 2, 2013, via “Our Kwangmyongsong-21 spacecraft got separated from the rocket and traveled through space,” he says.New York Times Lede Blog.

What’s the rocket carrying? The Kwangmyongsong-21 spacecraft, a much more advanced version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite that was launched on the aforementioned Unha-3 rocket in December. The satellite isn’t believed to be functioning, but the Kwangmyongsong-21 in the dream has achieved a lot more success.

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“Our Kwangmyongsong-21 spacecraft got separated from the rocket and traveled through space,” — Uriminzokkiri YouTube channel, February 2, 2013, via “Our Kwangmyongsong-21 spacecraft got separated from the rocket and traveled through space,” he says.New York Times Lede Blog.

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It’s apparently a reusable space vehicle, along the same lines as the U.S. Space Shuttle.

So why is Activision making such a fuss? As Kotaku noted, the computer-generated scenes destruction across New York as the city’s skyscrapers burn come straight from the “Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ video game.

Here’s a look at a frame from the Uriminzokkiri video and, below it, one from “Call Of Duty.”

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130205-dream-05See the tall building in the center? Yup, it’s the same one in both clips.

While the video is gone from YouTube, it remains available on LiveLeak.

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Kim Jong Il’s death – How DPRK websites broke the news

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A familiar newscaster dressed in black appears on screen and makes a tearful announcement: Kim Jong Il is dead. When North Korean state TV and radio broke the news at noon on Monday they had already given advance notice that a major announcement was coming. Its delivery was an attempt to set a national mood of mourning.

On the Internet things were a bit different with the news being carried as if it was any other story.

North Korea’s state media ventured online last year when a new Internet connection was brought to Pyongyang. The state-run news agency, the major national daily and the international radio outlet all have websites and steadily churn out daily propaganda about economic growth, scientific breakthroughs and the trips of Kim Jong Il across the country.

The audience is purely international — almost no one in North Korea has Internet access — and the subject matter not one that lends itself to breaking news. So perhaps it’s not surprising that North Korea’s media didn’t immediately replace their sites with somber pictures, banner headlines, or breaking news tag.

First word came shortly after midday — after the news had broke on TV and radio — with bulletins on the KCNA website.

KCNA’s Korean front page was pretty much the same. North Korea’s other websites, the national Rodong Sinmum daily and Voice of Korea international radio service, didn’t bother to immediately update their websites. Uriminzokkiri, a China-based site with close links to Pyongyang, was also slow out the gate in getting the news up.

But don’t read too much into this. The death of Kim Jong Il is a huge event for the country and the state propaganda machine. The lack of national mourning on the websites is likely much more to do with an inability to turn around a slick website redesign in hours that anything else.

A little over an hour after the announcement, KCNA had added a picture to its front page:

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Uriminzokkiri Twitter reportedly hacked

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The Twitter account of Uriminzokkiri, the China-based web site with close ties to Pyongyang, has apparently been compromised. (See the bottom of this post for updates.)

Four messages posted on Saturday morning are derogatory to leader Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un, his son and heir apparent.

Yonhap News translated one of the messages:

“Let’s create a new world by rooting out our people’s sworn enemy Kim Jong-il and his son Kim Jong-un!” — Yonhap News, Jan. 8, 2011

The messages are still visible at time of writing and are reproduced below.

The apparent hacking comes on Kim Jong-Un’s 28th birthday and will be an embarrassment to Uriminzokkiri. The messages will reach the 10,000 followers of the Twitter account, but they won’t be visible to ordinary North Koreans. Internet access is tightly controlled in the country.

Update 1: As noted in the comments, the apparent hacking has also hit the YouTube channel. A video featuring Kim Jong-Un in a sportscar was posted to the account twice. Once without a title and again with the title “2011-01-08.” The video had gained almost 11,000 views at time of writing. The video is posted below.

The video shows a train laden with birthday gifts for the leader-in-waiting being derailed. Last month Open Radio, a Seoul-based shortwave broadcaster, reported that eight cars of the so-called birthday train were derailed.

“A cargo train that left Sinuiju for Pyongyang on Dec. 11 was derailed somewhere between Yomju Station and Tongnim Station,” a source within North Korea’s National Security Agency was quoted as saying by Open Radio for North Korea.

The main Uriminzokkiri website is currently offline, but the YouTube and Twitter postings remain. Organizations faced with such a problem would typically remove the social media postings first.

Update 2: The YouTube video was taken down on the weekend of Jan. 8 and Uriminzokkiri is still offline, but the Twitter postings remain at time of writing (Jan 10.)

NKEconWatch has posted a copy of the video on its channel.

On the same site a reader, Mary, offers the following translations of the four tweets:

  1. Let us drive out our people’s sworn enemy, traitor Kim Jong Il and son Kim Jong Eun, and make a new world!
  2. Korean People’s Army! Aim the tips of your guns to the traitor Kim Jong Il who wasted 14 hundred million dollars on the development of nukes and missiles with the money that was to be used to feed the people and army.
  3. Let us dispose of senile Kim Jong Il and evil young offspring pig Kim Jong Eun with the one knife and too life happily eating rice and meat soup like the people of the south.
  4. Three million people have starved to death and froze to death; let us dispose of the Kim Jong Il who is having crazy alcohol parties with virgin girls in his luxurious villas.
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South seeks block on DPRK Internet propaganda

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South Korea’s government is planning to further restrict its citizens from accessing, discussing or forwarding North Korean propaganda activity on social-networking services, such as Twitter.

The plans were outlined in the Justice Ministry’s plan for 2011, which was presented on Tuesday, although lacked specifics.

The South already blocks about 30 pro-North Korean websites although never had to worry about social media until Uriminzokkiri launched a Twitter feed earlier this year.

Here’s the full story at Network World.

The moves follows the sinking of the Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong island and comes despite an already tightening grip on South Korean netizens.

According to a report in the Korea Times from September:

The police forced website operators to delete 42,787 pro-North Korean posts on the Internet in the first half of the year, up about 100 times compared to five years ago, according to data released by Rep. Ahn Hyoung-hwan of the governing Grand National Party Thursday.

Under the previous liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration, the number of censored online articles stood only at 1,238 in 2005; 1,388 in 2006; 1,434 in 2007; 1,793 in 2008.
The director of a cyber crime team at the National Police Agency noted that the number has sharply increased after the Lee administration took office in 2008, jumping to 14,430 in 2009.

Korea Times, Sept. 9, 2010

The Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act makes it an offense to have contact with North Koreans without first informing the government.

Pyongyang gets social

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Uriminzokkiri.com, the closest thing North Korea has to an official home page, got social in July when it joined Twitter and Facebook.

The move generated lots of publicity and helped drive Internet users to follow its tweets and status-updates, but also drew the attention of the governments in Seoul and Washington.

Uriminzokkiri’s moves into social media began a few weeks earlier with the launch of a YouTube channel, but that was largely unnoticed. A few news organizations picked up on the launch including AFP, which provided a sense of the channel’s content.

One English-language video with a duration of five minutes and 56 seconds praised leader Kim Jong-Il, calling him as a “general sent by the heaven.”

Another clip posted a week ago berates South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan over his controversial remarks last month that young South Korean leftists should not enjoy freedom in the South but should live under Kim Jong-Il.

In mid-August Uriminzokkiri followed up with the launch of a Twitter feed (@uriminzok), and suddenly the world’s media began paying attention. Over the next few days tens of stories were published on the feed, which was used to send out Korean-language headlines and links to articles on the Uriminzokkiri Web site and links to the YouTube channel.

In my article, “North Korean Jumps onto Twitter,” I wrote about the first messages:

The first message was posted to the account on Aug. 12 and declared (in Korean) “The Web site ‘Our Nation’ is on Twitter.”

It was followed by three messages pointing to important documents: a 1997 essay written by defacto leader Kim Jong Il on reunification, the North-South Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000, and the declaration issued after the North-South summit of Oct. 4, 2007. Subsequent updates have pointed to recent news articles.

It didn’t take very long for Twitter users to start noticing the account and signing up to follow the tweets.

Among those who chimed in on the new account was Philip Crowley, a U.S. state department spokesman, who commented on his own Twitter account (@pjcrowley):

“The North Korean government has joined Twitter, but is it prepared to allow its citizens to be connected as well?”

Within a few days the account had amassed more than 10,000 followers, including some who appeared to be South Korean. The government in Seoul quickly reacted by warning users against following the account and put in place blocks on the page. The Chosun Ilbo reported “A tweet from Pyongyang could land you in jail“:

“In case the account is discovered to be owned by North Korea, replies to the posts or any form of communication with the account without taking the steps to report those actions carries the chance of violating the inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act,” said Lee. Viewing the North Korean YouTube clips doesn’t violate the law.

The inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act states any persons who take part in any exchange with North Korea can be subject to up to three years in prison or up to 10 million won ($8,520.79) in fines.

With its Twitter credentials established, Uriminzokkiri moved next to Facebook and again hit resistance. Within about a day of the account being established and publicized it was gone – deleted by Facebook for an unspecified violation of the site’s terms of use. The account was recreated and, a day later, deleted again. I wrote about it in “North Korea-linked Facebook page deleted again.”

“Facebook is based on real people making real-world connections and people on Facebook will get the most value out of the site by using their real identity,” said Kumiko Hidaka, a spokeswoman for Facebook, by e-mail. “So posing as a person or entity you don’t officially represent is a violation of our policies, and that’s why those profiles in questions have been removed.”

I pressed Facebook and they explained it was all down to the type of account that had been set up. Uriminzokkiri should have created a page, not a personal account. The Web site hasn’t tried to create the account again, it remains down at time of writing, so it’s unclear if it will fall foul of some other restriction should it be created as a page.

Uriminzokkiri has come out swinging against the South Korean block, according to Daily NK. The Web site translated a post that called the Twitter block a “reckless infringement upon the right to know.”

“The South Chosun traitor factions are busily engaged in blocking the ‘Uriminjok’ accounts on You Tube and Twitter,” adding, “This is a stupid move that only computer-illiterates would do in the information age.”

Currently the Facebook group is still down, the YouTube channel continues to carry videos from Korean Central TV, and the Twitter channel is active with over 10,000 followers.

The Twitter channel has evolved in sophistication over its first few weeks. At first it posted full links to the Uriminzokkiri Web site, but soon caught on to URL shortners. In recent days it has begun replying to a few Twitter messages that have come in from followers.

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