US federal agencies warn companies against mistakenly hiring North Korean hackers

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The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has alerted the general public and businesses against the involuntary hiring of North Korean computer scientists.

In a joint statement released with the US Treasury Department and State Department, the federal agency said it could lead to UN and US sanctions and reputational damage.

US companies must be careful when hiring North Koreans

According to the advisory statement, North Korean hackers pose as non-North Korean nationals to get jobs. The country has placed more emphasis on training IT professionals.

US officials have revealed that several North Korean entities are sending thousands of highly skilled IT workers around the world to find jobs. The income generated by these workers would be used to funds North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs in violation of US and UN sanctions.

These hackers exploit the existing demand for highly skilled IT professionals to get jobs using online job platforms. Most of the time they use stolen identities and falsified documents.

The advisory continued that while not all of these workers directly engage in malicious activity, they do have access to insider information.

This information enabled North Korean cyber intrusions. Beyond that, these freelancers also send part of their earnings to North Korea to fund its weapons program.

The 16-page notice did not give specific instances where these IT workers were behind cybercrime activities. However, he provided examples of methods and strategies for getting a job and how they work.

North Korean Hackers Help Launder Stolen Crypto Funds

The FBI also mentioned crypto in its advisory, stating that some overseas-based North Korean computer scientists are helping the country money laundering and crypto transfer assets. In this context, he called on operators of digital asset platforms to be very careful.

The notice lists potential red flags for the activity of North Korean IT contractors. These include:

  • Multiple logins to a single account from different IP addresses in a short period of time.
  • Developer accounts use fraudulent customer account to boost developer account ratings.
  • Refusal to participate in video calls. Etc.

Recently, the FBI claimed that the North Korean-backed Lazarus group was responsible for stealing over $600 million while exploiting Axie Infinity. Additionally, crypto founder Arthur Cheong has also warned that these hackers target crypto companies using sophisticated methods.

Posted in: North Korea, Crime
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