North Korea has the image of being the world’s most secretive and secure country under the leadership of Kim Jong-un in the international community. Several reports, including recent reports on UPI, show that gambling is illegal in North Korea, but the government allows illegal gambling sites to operate and provide services to foreigners, and that much of the profits are provided to foreigners.
These illegal online gambling suppliers often target residents near South Korea, and the Kim Jong-un regime earns $866 million. That’s a very impressive figure considering North Korea’s gross domestic product is $40 billion. In addition to profiting from the illegal gambling industry, North Korea has developed several teams of sophisticated hackers and cyber developers to develop innovative gambling software and sell it to overseas gambling suppliers.
Cho Hyun-chun, commander of the Defense Security Command, says the North Korean government has regularly organized more than 6,000 hackers, tasked with cyberattacks, online espionage, and hacking confidential websites with a special focus on South Korea. Seoul’s intelligence agency said 121 countries, North Korea’s cyber department, employ the 6,000 hackers.
Although many reports describe North Korea as a less developed and repressive country due to its citizens suffering from a lack of basic amenities, the government has decided to invest heavily in the cyber department to prepare to hack into some of the world’s most sophisticated systems. The government has continued to build cyber cells aggressively over the past few years.
Cho said the huge cyber army is based in Pyongyang and was first assembled in the 1990s. The operation is divided into two groups: the first group is responsible for distributing audio and video materials that can be encrypted and used for online espionage. The second group is run by North Korea’s reconnaissance bureau and departments related to IT operations and is responsible for online gambling operations and software development.
A total of 15 North Korean nationals were arrested by authorities in Cambodia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and $8.6 million in betting funds were seized.
General Vincent Brooks addressed the growth of hackers in North Korea and told U.S. Senate leaders, “This is an area of growth. I don’t characterize them as the best in the world, but they are among the best in the world and organized.”