The US has cautioned that North Korean IT professionals are attempting to obtain remote working employment by concealing their genuine identities in order to steal money for Pyongyang.
According to three US government agencies, many of them pretend to be from other parts of Asia.They are accused of assisting North Korea in funding its nuclear programmes in contravention of UN sanctions. In recent months, the government has undertaken many missile tests.
North Korea conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017 in March.
The US State Department, US Treasury Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a joint statement on Monday that “the DPRK [North Korea] dispatches thousands of highly skilled IT workers globally to generate revenue that contributes to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes, in violation of US and UN sanctions.”
The labourers are reported to be in North Korea and other countries, particularly China and Russia, according to the statement. Africa and Southeast Asia are reported to have a smaller population.
“These IT employees take advantage of existing demand for specialised IT capabilities, such as software and mobile application development, to get freelance job contracts from clients all around the world,” it stated.
“Despite the fact that DPRK IT professionals are generally engaged in IT work unrelated to harmful cyber activity,” the statement said, “they have leveraged the privileged access gained as contractors to support the DPRK’s destructive cyber incursions.”
Companies that hire North Korean personnel may face legal consequences for breaking sanctions, according to the report.
Last month, the United States linked North Korean-backed hackers to a $615 million (£498.4 million) bitcoin heist from gamers of the popular online game Axie Infinity.
In April, a former US researcher for a cryptocurrency firm was sentenced to over five years in jail for conspiring to aid North Korea in evading US sanctions.
Virgil Griffith previously worked for the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit devoted to the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency ether.
He admitted to breaking the US International Emergency Economic Powers Act by travelling to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, to give a lecture on blockchain technology.
At the time of Griffith’s arrest, the Ethereum Foundation stated that it had not sanctioned or sponsored his trip to North Korea.