North Korea, cyber attacks, computers, science and technology

I read on the internet that some evidence points towards North Korea as a possible aggressor behind the recent cyber attack that affected more than 100 countries. That is very hard for me to believe. How can a country that has only 28 websites and a population that is basically unable to use a computer coordinate such a massive attack? I know the story of Sony Pictures, Bangladesh account and so on, but it’s still such a difficult thing for me to believe that North Korea is actually capable of performing such a fine piece of cyber theft. Let’s wait and see what the current investigation has to say.

Meanwhile, let me tell a story about computers from my recent trip to North Korea. In one of the days, we were taken to North Korea’s Center for Science and Technology – a huge complex built in less than a year at the direct orders of Kim Jong Un. A huge picture with Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il welcomes us, and we have to bow. As soon as we get inside, we notice computers everywhere – more than 1000 if I remember right. All of them looked clean, untouched and, apparently, unplugged. Nobody was using any of those computers. In the middle, a big rocket with a North Korean flag painted on it.

Here’s a video I took there

A rocket and many computers

The tourists were rushing to sit on the place where Kim Jong Un himself sat when he visited the complex. Later we entered a room where we were told that scientists are using computers for their research. The “scientists” were watching videos. I guess that was the peak of their IT skills- playing video clips in Media Player. Very inspired, one of them was taking notes on a sheet of paper.

In other rooms, we saw toy airplanes for kids, a globe displaying images from North Korea and spaceships miniatures.

 

So next time you want to do a center for science and technology, remember it isn’t that hard – you just have to build a massive complex and put 1000 computers inside it. The downside that comes with it is that people might a think you are using those computers for hacking bank accounts.

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