North Korea hacks MMORPGs to wage war online

While most play massively multiplayer online games to cast spells at orcs and other foes of a fictional variety, they could actually be up against some real enemies. 

Rather than level 42 wizards or hordes of goblins, an enemy far worse has arisen – sunglasses wearing loon Kim Jong-il.

That is because hard-up dictator Kim Jong-il has turned to MMOs as the battle ground to get one over on old nemesis South Korea.

Of course, as much as we would like to think so, we doubt that Jong-il is avidly reading the Dungeons and Dragons rulebook right as part of his latest dastardly scheme. But it has been revealed that the North Korean despot has in fact unleashed an army of role-playing minions to nick some cash for his own real life schemes.

Police in Seoul nabbed five members of Jong-il’s cyber army which had been organising a cell of 30 young gamers to help rack up points in online games.  This booty would then be converted into real life money to help North Korea’s war effort.

Admittedly, as terrifying war tactics go, organising clubs of gamers to rack up points on computer games hardly induces Genghis Khan-levels of horror.  But the ploy has been working well as a fund-raiser, with a war chest of around $6 million raised in two years.

The group had been working on software to hack the servers for online games like Lineage and Dungeon and Fighter, where the players would notch up advancements that could be sold online.

The breach then allowed “factories” of large numbers of unmanned computers to play games round the clock. Factories like this are common in parts of Asia, the New York Times reported.

Apparently the hackers did rather well out of the deal too, sharing in the spoils of war to the tune of 55 percent.  The rest went to a fund which allegedly runs into the billions of dollars and is used to for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme – and cognac for the top brass.