North Korea employing MMO hackers to fund government

What's a dictator to do when his third-world economy is wheezing along on its last legs? Hack some video games, of course! According to a report in the New York Times, North Korea's Kim Jong-il unleashed an army of young computer crackers on popular South Korean online gaming portals to find ways to make quick cash.

South Korean authorities claim that a squad of approximately 30 hackers operated from a base in China and were given the mission of breaching online gaming servers (including those of the immensely popular Lineage) to set up bot factories and automated farming collectives. The digital booty was then sold to gamers for a reported $6 million over two years.

Chung Kil-hwan, a senior officer at South Korea's International Crime Investigation Unit, says that the hacker group "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."

This article was originally published on Massively.