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North Korea Accused of Hacking Online Games For Profit

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the crime-in-the-21st-century-is-so-lame dept.

Government 36

According to South Korean authorities, North Korean computer experts were tasked with raising money by attacking the servers of popular online games and using automated software to accumulate in-game enhancements they could sell to legitimate players. "In a little less than two years, the police said, the organizers made $6 million. The North Korean computer experts were each required to send at least $500 a month back to the Pyongyang government, the police said. It remained unclear how much of the rest of their profits they pocketed for themselves, given different layers of party and military officials involved in a typical illicit operation. What appeared clear from the case, the police said, was that North Korean agencies, increasingly hamstrung by international sanctions, were exploring any new means to raise cash for Mr. Kim and prove their loyalty."

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36 comments

Gotta love capitalism (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027568)

They hate capitalism so much that they... let me get this straight... used it to make money and help fund their government? I don't know, guys, it seems a little disingenuous to me.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37027680)

you got it.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027790)

The real story is....

Some hacker broke the TOS of online games in South Korea. They made a barrel of money in the process, and are completely untraceable. The coup_d'état is that they managed to build a bread-crumb trail that points to the North Korean government, and South Korea fell for it!

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027960)

They arrested 5 people and it shouldn't be that untraceable. If they're collecting money in SK for that kind of thing, they're doing it via bank transfer. Not hard for them to find out who owns the account.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028154)

Where they fucked up is not hacking a few bank accounts to. This is money laundering 101, you never, *EVER* use your own banking account to embezzle money*

*unless you bought enough politicians off first that your embezzlement becomes legal, in which case there is no problem

Re:Gotta love capitalism (3, Informative)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028298)

That's much harder in Korea since everything is tied to the national ID system.
You can't open an account with an ID that doesn't match the government system.
So in order to create a fake ID you'd need to basically hack the government system since every service that users your ID generally runs it through theirs first.

They could potentially create a semi-fake ID where they use a real name/number combo but put a different photo on the card. But since everything is tied together someone is likely to quickly find out their name/number is being used.

They'd have more luck creating foreign passports and creating bank accounts as foreigners, but a lot of banks severely limit the usage of those, and a foreigner suddenly getting those kinds of deposits is likely to attract attention.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028674)

It's more interesting that this was done in South Korea, where government-sponsored high-speed data lines mean that the entire population has a better running connection than anyone but the uber-rich in the USA, and the USA pays for their national defense leaving the nation with nothing else to do but play games online all day.

Y'know, maybe the USA should just fucking stop wasting our money being the world's goddamn police force?

Re:Gotta love capitalism (2)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029024)

It's more interesting that this was done in South Korea, where government-sponsored high-speed data lines mean that the entire population has a better running connection than anyone but the uber-rich in the USA, and the USA pays for their national defense leaving the nation with nothing else to do but play games online all day.

No kidding. It's not like those wussy South Koreans are conscripted into the Army [wikipedia.org] for two years or anything like that. O wait...

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030088)

Y'know, maybe the USA should just fucking stop wasting our money being the world's goddamn police force?

Yes. Please.

The people who make the game can just ban (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027806)

The people who make the game can just ban any one who deals with this on both sides.

any ways maybe the US should do this and the same TAX all others who do it as well.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (2)

Dainsanefh (2009638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028044)

Use your enemy resources to fight against your enemy. Common commie tactics made famous by the Chairman.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029038)

I pay more that $500 a month in tax (Not to North Korea fortunately), the north Korean government could make heaps more money by just keeping everybody gainfully employed.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029298)

There are thousands of economic sanctions against them, their economy is fucked, and they are technologically still in the last century. Farming (uh, the oldschool kind of farming) won't make them as much money you do with your job.

It also should be said that their government doesn't hate capitalism, it's just a dictatorship that does whatever it can to keep things as they are (since the status quo is great for the few higher ups). Anyhow, there's nothing wrong with stealing money from your enemy (remember NK is still at war with SK). Finally, stealing has nothing to do with capitalism (or communism (or any other ism that I know)).
Whoever modded GP up (and to 5!) is fucking retarded.

Re:Gotta love capitalism (0)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030174)

"South" Korean authorities, eh? Why should any thinking person believe anything coming from a US occupied puppet state? Anyone who does independent research about DPRK will find that information coming from the actual people living there (there is a great blog fy an exchange student living there, check it out) is different from US sponsored propaganda. Use you brain people!

Re:Gotta love capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37123220)

Care to link this great blog? Where does this exchange student come from - Venezuela or Iran?

Re:Gotta love capitalism (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030432)

They are not really communist, more some sort of weird theocracy worshipping the dead father of the current leader and taking 1984 as a guidebook then going downhill from there. A few years back it looked like they were running an industrial scale state sanctioned heroin smuggling operation FFS. They'll take whatever they can get away with. Even some Chinese Koreans who may have relatives in the place would like to see North Korea nuked until it glows

Theater of the Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37027648)

So this is North Korea semi-officially beating up kids for their lunch (game) money. Wow...that's just desperate. Or, you know, suggest it to the US as a government project to raise capital - maybe S&P will upgrade our rating back? :)

Re:Theater of the Absurd (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028492)

This may be the only game that North Korea can win...

Outside of famine stricken central Africa there is probably no place in the world whose people are in such desperate straits -and this is due to a stupid corrupt government -not acts of Nature.

I'm just sayin'

Detection (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027666)

I thought there were anti-cheating mechanisms in place in all major online games.

One mechanism would be to block N. Korea's country IP range and issue an advisory notice.

Re:Detection (2)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027704)

Right. Because IP's can't be spoofed or masked. Trying to combat gold farmers and botters in MMO's is like trying to kill mosquitoes on a warm summer night: the longer you stay outside, the more you are going to get bit. For every 1 that flies into the bug zapper, 10 more show up to replace them, attracted by the bright shiny light that just killed their friend.

Re:Detection (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028200)

the way to take care of gold sellers is to make people afraid to buy gold, set up fake websites and permaban people who try to buy

Re:Detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028654)

the way to take care of gold sellers is to make people afraid to buy gold, set up fake websites and permaban people who try to buy

People would just go to the sites that they already know are 100% safe to buy gold from. It might keep new gold selling sites from popping up but it will make the currently trusted sites a fortune by eliminating all new competition.

Re:Detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032160)

I was given an "electric tennis racket" bug zapper for Xmas. It's awesome! I watched 8 die one night just from landing on it! Also, it's fun, healthy (as long as you keep it away from pets and drunk people) and a great party toy (when outside, swatting mosquitoes).

And after a while, you do thin the local population of bugs enough to enjoy a few hours of outside peace and quiet.

Re:Detection (3, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027740)

The people who did it were actually in South Korea, but are believed to be working for North Korea. So blocking all of the norths traffic would do nothing, and any Anti-Cheating mechanism is only a temporary fix since eventually they are bypassed.

Treason with life or the death penalty (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37027838)

Treason with life or the death penalty will be a big shock to some punk kid one day your playing a on line game next doing hard time facing life or death.

Re:Detection (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029510)

these are mostly games of the region, you would get pretty far blanket banning a significant portion of customers

Botting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37027700)

So now I have to worry about North Korean gold farmers? I wonder if they can give china a run for their money? (see wut I did thar?)

That's it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028288)

They may have a poopy human rights record, are trying build and proliferate weapons of mass destruction, and are commiting monthly acts of war against Japan and South Korea, but if they're cheating at World of Warcraft, that pretty much settles it. Nuke 'em!!!!!

re (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028528)

so thats where all my wow gold went to // drops bomb on north korea

So "ccording to South Korea" (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032186)

the North Koreans have done something bad. You can't argue with objective evidence like that.
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