Exceed North Korean hackers and digital scammers have been rampant for a decade, Hundreds of millions stolen Dollar raises money for hermit kingdom and leaves often chaos behind them. But while the U.S. and other governments often name North Korea for digital espionage and prosecute their hackers, it has prove more difficult Charges were made against rogue theft and profiteering. North Korea has been subject to broad sanctions by the U.S. and other governments for years, but efforts to tackle the regime’s financial crimes have hit roadblocks.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury, State and FBI Joint publication of 16-page alert Businesses are warned to beware of a particular scam in which North Korean IT employees apply for freelance contracts (often with wealthy North American, European and East Asian companies) to generate income for their country. These workers disguised themselves as IT workers of other nationalities, posing as remote workers from South Korea, China, Japan, Eastern Europe or the United States. The alert noted that thousands of North Korean IT employees were accepting such contracts. Some work on their own in North Korea, while others work overseas, mostly outside China and Russia, with small contingents in Southeast Asia and Africa. In some cases, North Korean scammers themselves subcontract with other, more legitimate workers to increase their credibility.
“In some cases, individual North Korean IT workers can earn more than $300,000 a year, while teams of IT workers collectively can earn more than $3 million annually,” the alert warned. “North Korean IT workers provide critical A source of revenue that helps fund the North Korean regime’s highest economic and security priorities, such as its weapons development program.”
When U.S. companies unknowingly contract with North Koreans, they violate government sanctions and face legal risks. But these scams are tricky to deal with because workers often complete tasks for compensation. Without vigilance, businesses may not realize that anything inappropriate is going on.
The alert emphasizes that while businesses need to be aware of the issue so they can comply with sanctions, North Korean IT contractors also sometimes use their access to plant malware and facilitate espionage and intellectual property theft.
“In a lot of cases, we see North Korean actors interviewing for jobs and using it to try to end up deploying malware or getting into an environment,” said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. The reason it’s important is that a lot of people don’t see this threat or see it as ‘Oh, North Korea, they’re crazy. They’re not complicated. If you talk to a real person, it doesn’t feel like there’s a cyber threat, but these are North Koreans are very good at human manipulation, so it’s really important to make people aware of this.”
North Korean IT workers are fully trained to make detection more difficult, and the alert noted that they have developed software, websites and other platforms for areas as diverse as health and fitness, social networking, sports, entertainment and lifestyle. with cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance. These employees have expertise in IT support and database management, building mobile and web applications, developing cryptocurrency platforms, working on artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality, and developing facial recognition and biometric authentication tools.