FBI Exposes North Korean Infiltration Of US IT Industry, Funneling Millions For Missile Program

Written By BlabberBuzz | Sunday, 22 October 2023 20:30
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In a startling revelation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have reported that thousands of IT contractors in the United States have been clandestinely channeling millions of dollars to North Korea, allegedly to fund the country's ballistic missile program.

The DOJ announced on Wednesday that numerous IT professionals, covertly operating on behalf of North Korea, have been working remotely for US firms, including those based in St. Louis. These individuals have reportedly been using counterfeit identification to secure these positions.

According to Business Insider, authorities have confiscated over $1.5 million and 17 domain names in connection with the ongoing investigation. Jay Greenberg, the Special Agent in charge of the St. Louis FBI office, revealed that one company had employed freelance IT workers who are suspected of involvement in this scheme.

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FBI spokesperson Rebecca Wu stated, "[w]e can tell you that there are thousands of North Korean IT workers that are part of this." The FBI has indicated that the operation is extensive, urging companies to exercise caution when hiring.

Greenberg further advised, "the FBI recommends that employers take additional proactive steps with remote IT workers to make it harder for bad actors to hide their identities."

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The Associated Press reported that officials have yet to disclose the names of the companies that may have employed IT professionals linked to North Korea. They also refrained from detailing how the investigation was initially triggered.

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However, it seems the State Department had been cognizant of North Korea's potential attempts to extract valuable resources from the US since at least May 2022.

In 2022, the State Department, FBI, and the Department of the Treasury issued an advisory warning that North Koreans could be seeking employment under the guise of non-North Korean nationals. The advisory also highlighted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has placed increased focus on education and training" in IT-related fields.

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John Hultquist, the head of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, stated that North Korea's recent attempts to exploit US IT jobs to finance its weapons systems is not a novel development, asserting that it has been occurring for at least a decade.

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Hultquist observed, “I think the post-COVID world has created a lot more opportunity for them because freelancing and remote hiring are a far more natural part of the business than they were in the past.” This statement underscores the evolving landscape of remote work and the potential security risks it presents.

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