North Korea employing game hackers - South Korea

Seoul police charge five with breaching Lineage servers to facilitate bot farming, say operation funneled millions to communist government agents.

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According to South Korean police, North Korea is getting into farming of a distinctly non-agricultural variety. The New York Times is reporting that Seoul authorities have arrested five people that they believe were running a conspiracy to hack into online games and run bot farms, with proceeds being funneled back to the North Korean government.

Lineage was one of the hackers' targeted games.
Lineage was one of the hackers' targeted games.

Police are charging the group with organizing a group of dozens of hackers and gamers to breach server security for online games like Lineage and Dungeon Fighter Online. Instead of bringing those games down or stealing user information, police said the hacking was done to allow the use of illegal automated 24-hour farming operations.

Resources from the bot-run accounts were then sold at real-money-trading sites. Authorities believe that over the course of two years, the group brought in roughly $6 million, more than half of which was transferred to accomplices in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. All five of the charged hackers graduated from North Korean universities and previously operated at a state-run computer center or a trading company believed to be part of a government agency that raises funds through illicit activities like drug trafficking and counterfeiting.

According to the report, North Korea denied involvement in the hacking "and accused Seoul of inventing a conspiracy."

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