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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prh99The unflattering characterization "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
prh99http://bit.ly/1rGPHOY http://intel.ly/Zu6go9 it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
Andrew EisenWow! Intel dropped Gamasutra due to GameJournoPros? Over Matt Matthews? The only Gamasutra guy in the group? Who hasn't written a single thing about #GamerGate at the site? Where did you read that?10/02/2014 - 12:32am
Neo_DrKefka#WriteAKotakuArticle "#GamerGate is responsible for breaking millions of Intel powered macbooks after angry SWJ hipsters slam them shut" or "How Toxic Processors from Intel causes sexism. "10/02/2014 - 12:15am
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quiknkoldAndrew : Mostly I decided there were better people who could explain what was going on, or fight any battles that may come up. so I decided not to talk about it anymore.10/01/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI don't recall you promising that. GamerGate is not a taboo discussion here. Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting.10/01/2014 - 8:47pm
quiknkoldI know I promised to not talk about Gamergate again, but Intel just pulled sponsership from Gamasutra over it http://techraptor.net/2014/10/01/gamasutra-intel/10/01/2014 - 8:40pm
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