(PresidentialHill.com)- According to US intelligence agencies, North Korea is sending thousands of skilled IT workers worldwide to impersonate other nationalities and obtain jobs, primarily to fund its nuclear weapons program.
Many of them work in China and Russia, with a small number in Africa and Southeast Asia, but they could now be looking for work in North America, Europe, East Asia, and other parts of the world, according to an advisory from the US State and Treasury Departments and the FBI.
According to the agencies, these job seekers could pose as Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Eastern European, or US-based teleworkers and seek freelance contracts in wealthier countries.
According to the advisory, these IT workers take advantage of the existing demand for specific IT skills, such as software and mobile app development, to secure freelance employment contracts from clients all over the world.
According to the advisory, other jobs sought include mobile games, graphic animation, dating apps, and cryptocurrency platform development.
According to US state agencies, the majority of the money earned by the workers goes directly to the North Korean government, with much of the revenue going toward the country’s weapons development programs.\
The advisory states that the North Korean government withholds up to 90% of overseas workers’ wages, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for the government. These workers are sometimes subjected to human trafficking, forced labor, and long working hours while under the watchful eye of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Many of these IT workers, according to the advisory, use virtual private networks (VPNs) to hide their identities while connecting with employers, work remotely, and prefer text messaging to video calls. According to the report, they also frequently falsify identification documents such as driver’s licenses and passports.
According to US agencies, employers should be wary of job applicants who ask for their salary to be paid in virtual currency, refuse to participate in video calls, or claim they can’t receive work items like a laptop at the address they listed.
The advisory stated that the FBI encourages US businesses to report suspicious activities to local field offices, including any suspected North Korean IT worker activities.