The federal government is warning private U.S. companies and the international community that IT workers from North Korea are attempting to gain employment to funnel money back to Kim Jong Un’s regime and even conduct cyber espionage.
"There are thousands of [North Korean] IT workers both dispatched overseas and located within [North Korea], generating revenue that is remitted back to the North Korean government," the Department of State, Department of the Treasury, and FBI said in a joint statement on Monday.
"An overseas [North Korean] IT worker earns at least ten times more than a conventional North Korean laborer working in a factory or on a construction project overseas."
While most of the workers just funnel money back to regime, some of them have "used the privileged access gained as contractors "to enable North Korea's "malicious cyber intrusions," the officials said.
Cybercrime is a key way that North Korea funds its ballistic missiles programs. The Treasury Department announced last month that a cybercrime syndicate called the Lazarus Group that is linked to North Korea had stolen more than $620 million in cryptocurrency from a crypto platform.