“Hacker army” is a term we'd expect to hear from an explosion-packed Hollywood crime caper, but here we are watching real people spout phrases that are just asking for a cheesy one-liner to wash them down. That, however, is only the tip of the increasingly silly sounding iceberg. The South Korean government, you see, is claiming that said “army” helps keep its not-so-nice neighbor to the north from gobbling up all its funds by farming a little gold here and there. By which we mean, you know, six million dollars' worth.
South Korea alleges that North Korea's been receiving a portion of the funds generated by a 30-strong hacker team that whips up bots for games like Korean MMO Lineage. You know the drill: the bots leave no boar gizzard unturned in their search for gold, and then the hackers offload all the gold for real money.
The twist, however, is that the Seoul International Crime Investigation Unit arrested five hackers suspected of doing their nefarious virtual deeds for a shadowy Communist Party agency known as “Office 39.” Apparently, Office 39 also fattens up its piggy banks through “drug trafficking, counterfeiting, arms sales and other illicit activities.” Word from Seoul is that these system-gaming gamers – graduates of top North Korean science universities – were required to wire at least $500 back to the government in Pyongyang each month.
North Korea, of course, says it's all a silly, slanderous conspiracy dreamed up by the South. North Korea's hardly a bastion of honesty, mind you, but secret government agencies named after numbers and hacker armies make South Korea's claims sound a bit far-fetched. Regardless, no bots or mods in Diablo III? Blizzard: 1, North Korean government: 0.