South Korea Accuses Kim Jong-il's Government of Major MMO Hacking

August 8, 2011 -

The New York Times is reporting that minions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il have found an interesting way of earning some much needed cash - MMO's. According to South Korean authorities, their neighbor to the North has created an army of young hackers and unleashed them on South Korea's most popular MMORPG's. This group is finding ways to exploit systems, gather in-game credits and convert it all back to cold hard cash.

Police in Seoul said Thursday that four South Koreans and a Korean-Chinese were arrested on charges related to such activities, and further allege that many of the 30 or so "young video gaming experts" were working out of Northern China. According to police, this group developed hacking software that circumvented the servers for such South Korean online games as Lineage and Dungeon and Fighter. This security breach allowed the group to play "around-the-clock" and farm various virtual goods.

The ill-gotten goods (the NYT refers to them as "points" but that is not entirely an accurate description) were then exchanged for cash at web sites where virtual goods are resold to players who want them and are willing to pay real-world money. Police also said that the software these men used to exploit various games was also sold.

In less than two years the group managed to raise $6 million, and, according to police, they gave 55 percent of it to the hackers, who forwarded some of it to agents in Pyongyang, North Korea.

"They regularly contacted North Korean agents for close consultations," Chung Kil-hwan, a senior officer at the police agency’s International Crime Investigation Unit, said during a news briefing.

Chung said the hackers, who are all reportedly graduates of North Korea’s elite science universities were dispatched from two places: the Korea Computer Center in Pyongyang and the Korea Neungnado General Trading Company. The latter company, he claims, reports to a shadowy Communist Party agency called Office 39, which "gathers foreign hard currency for Mr. Kim through drug trafficking, counterfeiting, arms sales and other illicit activities."

South Korean and American officials claim this secret and covert fund is worth billions, and that Kim uses it to finance his nuclear weapons programs and to smuggle luxury goods into the country, which he in turn uses to buy the allegiance of the party and the military elite.

The North Korean computer experts were each required to send at least $500 a month back to the Pyongyang government, according to police.

North Korean officials denied the accusations and said that South Korean officials were simply "inventing a conspiracy."

Source: Destructoid


 
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benohawkI doubt it would of helped goth. it seems a lot of the people who blew up were just waiting for any issue to let loose07/31/2015 - 3:25pm
Andrew EisenI disagree with blaming an overreaction on what people are overreacting to.07/31/2015 - 3:24pm
Goth_Skunkpositions and apologize for any confusion they may have caused. Unless their intent WAS to provoke a sleeping lion, in which case... here we are.07/31/2015 - 3:20pm
Goth_SkunkAn overreaction that probably would not have happened if Gamasutra's article was the only one ever written. And an overreaction that could have also been calmed had the authors all collectively retracted or written follow-up pieces to clarify their07/31/2015 - 3:20pm
benohawkAndrew, neither side is blameless there. Through poor planning or deliberate attempts to offend those articles did push a bad situation to the worse. and the people who blew up are guilty for their reaction07/31/2015 - 3:19pm
Andrew EisenGoth - And the blame for that rests solely on the ding bats who grossly overreacted to a handful of opinion pieces.07/31/2015 - 3:11pm
Andrew EisenHere's a fun fact: Only two of the authors of the "Gamers Are Dead" articles (of which there are about 12) were on the Game Journo Pros list.07/31/2015 - 3:10pm
Goth_SkunkNo! No! Of course not! Nothing wrong with that at all! Nevermind that those articles spawned a huge, almost year-long consumer revolt and culture war that no one in the industry can deny exists. :^)07/31/2015 - 3:10pm
Andrew EisenThere's also nothing wrong with publishing an opinion you know is going to be unpopular with some. So long as it's genuine, anyway.07/31/2015 - 3:08pm
Andrew EisenEh, could be laziness, lack of imagination, bandwagon hopping or maybe Alexander's article inspired them to publish their own takes. Nothing wrong with that.07/31/2015 - 3:06pm
Goth_SkunkIf laziness was indeed the reason other sites produced articles of a similar vein, the laziness must reach levels that would make a cat blush. How lazy does one have to be unable to stop and think "maybe this isn't a good idea...'07/31/2015 - 3:04pm
Andrew EisenThe Mary Sue article title I'm a bit more comfortable being called clickbait as it's a deliberate misdirection but it's done for humor's sake so I personally give such things a pass.07/31/2015 - 3:01pm
Andrew EisenI count six similar titles and two of the authors aren't even journalists, let alone game journalists. It doesn't reek of collusion, it reeks of laziness, if anything. A few others saw Alexander's piece and wrote their own.07/31/2015 - 3:00pm
Goth_Skunkfeed. Additionally, I'm baffled by the irony of someone named 'Infophile' taking a Mary Sue article seriously. Ignoring that I won't give that site a second of my time, that article headline is blatant clickbait and should be ignored on principle.07/31/2015 - 2:58pm
Goth_SkunkI agree with Benohawk: The title of the article meant that the article was worth ignoring. Alas, when 9 additional sites pop up with similarly titled articles of their own, it reeks of collusion and an attempt by the press at large to bite the hands that07/31/2015 - 2:56pm
Andrew EisenAh, okay.07/31/2015 - 2:46pm
benohawkI'm saying that the refrence in the article to the old title would need to be changed well the primary point of the article would be kept the same. Not something that should be an issue if the objective wasn't to be provocative.07/31/2015 - 2:41pm
Andrew EisenYou're saying the article should be altered to fit a different title. I want to know what title you find more appropriate for the copy as is.07/31/2015 - 2:34pm
benohawkIt would take a minor rewrite to the article, but I'd call it 'What is a Gamer' but go for the same point. you don't have to sell to jerks07/31/2015 - 2:33pm
Andrew EisenI still say "clickbait" is thrown around way too casually, to the point where it's completely meaningless. That aside, what alternate title would you suggest?07/31/2015 - 2:22pm
 

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