Saturday, August 6, 2011

North Korean Game Hackers Help That Country Earn Hard Currency

The Chosun Ilbo reports that, according to a police investigation,elite North Korean hackers created and distributed programs that stole millions of U.S. dollars from popular South Korean on-line gaming sites, such as Lineage and Dungeon Fighter.
The hackers, who are believed to have graduated from the North's prestigious Kim Il-sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology, stole gaming items such as weapons, armor and other objects that players collect and store in their on-line games and trade for cash. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said on Thursday it had arrested five South Koreans, including a 43-year-old identified only by his surname Chung. They were apprehended for creating programs, with the aid of hackers that use personal information stolen from servers for on-line games, and distributing them to buyers. Nine others were also arrested for aiding Chung in distributing the software.
"It appears that North Korea has gone beyond the traditional methods of earning foreign currency, such as drug manufacturing and producing counterfeit bills, to creating Internet hacking programs," a police official said.
Chung, who runs an Internet chat room in Daejeon in southwestern Korea, traveled to China's Heilongjiang Province in northern China in early 2009 and was introduced to around 30 North Korean hackers through a broker.

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