If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Kim Jong-il grabs $6m from gold farming

South Korean MMOs hacked.

Kim Jong-il is in part funded by gold farmers, according to a new report.

The North Korean leader ordered a team of hackers, based in northern China, to break into the servers of South Korean massively multiplayer online games Lineage and Dungeon and Fighter to allow "factories" of dozens of unmanned computers to play non-stop.

Gathered virtual gold was then sold for real world cash on third party websites to gamers. The gold farmers were each required to send at least $500 a month back to the Pyongyang government, the police said.

According to the New York Times (registration required), Kim Jong-il raked in more than $6 million in two years from the operation.

The hackers have ties to an agency called Office 39, which allegedly generates cash for the regime through drug trafficking, counterfeiting and arms sales. Isn't that nice?

Seoul cops said four South Koreans and a Korean-Chinese were arrested on charges of organising a hacking squad of 30 young video game experts, the New York Times reports.

North Korea denied responsibility and accused Seoul of inventing a conspiracy.

Become a Eurogamer subscriber and get your first month for £1

Get your first month for £1 (normally £3.99) when you buy a Standard Eurogamer subscription. Enjoy ad-free browsing, merch discounts, our monthly letter from the editor, and show your support with a supporter-exclusive comment flair!

About the Author
Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch