North Koreans are flooding into IT and crypto professions online, according to US agencies

Private companies should conduct due investigation before recruiting freelance labor, according to the official advise, because North Koreans frequently use illegal practices and stolen identities to conceal their origin.

The US Departments of Justice, State, and Treasury released a combined advisory warning against the surge of North Korean workers in various freelance IT jobs, particularly in the cryptocurrency industry.

On Friday, the public advise was posted, emphasizing the crucial red flags and identifiers for private companies to avoid recruiting North Korean personnel. These personnel, according to US officials, offer a variety of threats, including theft of intellectual property, data, and finances that might be used to circumvent sanctions.

Due to the epidemic, there has been a substantial surge in the freelancing employment market, and bitcoin, as a decentralized business, offers some of the most lucrative IT jobs available today. The United States' agencies are concerned about North Korea's involvement in the crypto industry because of this.

Overview of North Korean Worker Operations

North Korean laborers frequently utilize virtual private networks (VPNs) to purchase third-country IP addresses and stolen identities to conceal their origin nation, according to the advise. The warning went on to say:

"These employees create software and apps for a variety of industries, including business, cryptocurrencies, health and fitness, social networking, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle."

In order to identify and weed out such workers from US-based firms, the advisory listed a number of red flags to look out for, including inconsistencies in name spelling, nationality, claimed work location, contact information, educational history, work history, and other details across a developer's freelance platform profiles.

Other key red flags cited in the report include requests for cryptocurrency payments and frequent money transfers to People's Republic of China-based bank accounts.

North Korea is known for stealing money through ransomware attacks and cyberattacks, and is home to Lazarus, one of the most well-known hacking outfits. The same hacker outfit was also linked to the recent Axie Inifity's Ronin Bridge hack, which resulted in the loss of almost $600 million in cryptocurrency.

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