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The US has confiscated 17 website domains believed to be linked to a North Korean IT operation designed to deceive global businesses and fund weapon programs. This development, backed by a Missouri court order, is the latest move in a larger effort by the Justice Department to clamp down on North Korea’s indirect strategies to support its weapons endeavors.
As detailed by the Justice Department, the scheme hinges on North Korea’s deployment of thousands of IT professionals, mainly based in China and Russia. These individuals are said to target global businesses by posing as freelance IT workers. The end goal of these covert operations is to channel funds into North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile ventures. In highlighting the threat, the Justice Department stated North Korea has “flooded the global marketplace with ill-intentioned information technology workers.”
Additionally, US and South Korean officials have previously called attention to these IT professionals, alleging they use counterfeit documentation to secure positions, further aiding Pyongyang’s militaristic pursuits.
The Justice Department also revealed that past secret court-sanctioned actions in late 2022 and early 2023 led to the seizure of around $1.5 million generated by this group from their unsuspecting victims.