(LibertySociety.com) – The FBI is warning employers to take extra measures to vet potential employees who are hired to work remotely. A lengthy investigation by the agency found that North Korea was dispatching workers to apply under a false name for freelance IT jobs in the United States. For several years, the employees were funneling their wages to the North Korean government to fund its ballistic missiles program. Companies in St. Louis, Missouri, were targeted, but special agent Jay Greenberg said that it is likely that any company hiring freelance IT workers was also duped into hiring these North Korean workers.
The workers were sent to China and Russia to work but engaged in deceptive activities to make it appear that they were working from the United States. American citizens were paid to allow the employees to use their Wi-Fi connections. Although the investigation is still ongoing, authorities have seized $1.5 million and a total of 17 domain names. During each year of the scheme, the employees were sending several million dollars to North Korea to fund the weapons program. It is unknown how the FBI discovered the activity, and the names of the companies that were targeted were not released to the public.
While the scheme has been going on for more than 10 years, it was widely expanded during and since the pandemic. The State Department publicly acknowledged North Korea’s attempts to gain access to IT companies back in 2022, writing that Kim Jong Un’s regime “has placed increased focus on education and training” in IT. North Korea’s intentions are unique from other hostile countries, as the others are more focused on espionage and destabilizing the United States. North Korea is simply looking for ways to profit off the United States. The country has ramped up its missile testing in the last year, and Kim Jong Un recently pushed for an increase in nuclear weapons production to secure a bigger role among the countries uniting to engage in a “new Cold War” with the United States.
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