North Korean IT Workers Infiltrate U.S. Companies

Three people have been arrested after thousands of North Korean workers in information technology were caught working for United States companies in a complex identity theft scheme, the Department of Justice announced on May 16.

Infiltrated: According to prosecutors, the IT workers were dispatched by the North Korean government to live abroad as remote employees, defying U.S. sanctions on the country. Using over 60 stolen U.S. identities, the IT workers infiltrated more than 300 U.S. companies, including Fortune 500 companies.

These jobs gave them access to sensitive corporate data and paychecks, generating at least $6.8 million in revenue. The funds were directed toward North Korea’s missile program, said the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program.

Perpetrator: The main defendant arrested was Christina Marie Chapman of Arizona. She was charged for obtaining and validating stolen identities of U.S. citizens and helping workers connect remotely. Chapman developed more than one “laptop farm” where she received computers and paychecks for the IT workers.

The [Federal Bureau of Investigation] has long stated that cybersecurity is national security, and this case is living proof of that. That a woman living her quiet life in the outskirts of Phoenix can allegedly get so entangled in something like this clearly indicates our adversaries are getting more sophisticated and stealthier, so it’s critical that businesses and citizens be hyper-vigilant with their cyber activities.
—Akil Davis, fbi special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Office

A warning: This is a reminder that Western nations are very dependent on computer technology, making an increase in cyberattacks more likely.

The charges in this case should be a wake-up call for American companies and government agencies that employ remote IT workers. These crimes are alleged to have benefited the North Korean government.
—Nicole Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long warned about the dangers of computer dependence. To learn more, read his article “America’s Achilles’ Heel.”