back to article Misconfigured cloud server leaked clues of North Korean animation scam

A misconfigured cloud server that used a North Korean IP address has led to the discovery that film production studios including the BBC, Amazon, and HBO Max could be inadvertently using workers from the hermit kingdom for animation projects. The server – which according to think tank Stimson Center this week is no longer …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make trade, not war

    It is just another proof that trading with the West is more beneficial than fighting with it.

    There are many North Korean talents wasted, while the South Korean have proven they can deliver amazing results in business and science.

    1. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

      Re: Make trade, not war

      >Make trade, not war

      Now try to get that through the DPRK leadership's thick skulls...

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Make trade, not war

        Or the Iranian regime’s.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Make trade, not war

        In an autocracy, what matters is how the autocrat is doing, not how anyone else is.

    2. Hairy Airey

      Re: Make trade, not war

      In which case North Korea needs to bring its war with South Korea to an end. It's surprising how many people don't realise that there is only a ceasefire agreement in place.

  2. Yorick Hunt Silver badge
    Holmes

    A DPRK IP address, you say?

    BGP says they have the net sum of a single /22 subnet.

    I'd find it hardly likely that they'd be allocating any of that space to things as frivolous as file sharing.

    "... according to a post on the think tank's blog..."

    Well, that explains it. Looks like someone's funding review is due.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A DPRK IP address, you say?

      Earning foreign currency is frivolous?

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A DPRK IP address, you say?

      What do you think they'd be allocating that space to? Internal stuff gets internal IPs in the 10/8 block. The small block also means it's really easy to do intensive portscans of it at all times.

  3. Plest Silver badge
    Happy

    Guess it makes a change for the DPRK to earn money than simply hack into Bitcoin exchanges and wander off with billions of ill gotten gains in their pockets!

    1. BartyFartsLast

      Hacking crypto is a fool's game, you've no idea how much it's going to be worth from one minute to the next.

      Far better to earn foreign currency with a relatively stable value.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Cryptocurrency theft is still useful to the DPRK, since they can exchange some of it for hard currency, goods, or services, and the total value extracted is still significantly greater than the (quite low) cost of obtaining it.

        While it's certainly better in an absolute unit-per-nominally-equivalent-unit basis to get hard currency, both are valuable to the DPRK, and going after one doesn't preclude going after the other.

  4. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Google-owned cyber security outfit Mandiant had a look at the access logs and found most logins to the server were done over a virtual private network (VPN)

    NorkVPN?

  5. Crypto Monad Silver badge

    Follow the money

    If the country/organization is sanctioned, how do they get paid?

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Follow the money

      >how do they get paid?

      The money stays outside the country.

      I have a relative who lives in Argentina. Their currency isn't worth s**t these days -- its over 1000 pesos to the US dollar -- so that any enterprise that can maintains a business presence in somewhere like the US and trades in US dollars, only converting the portion needed to pesos as an when necessary.

      It will be the same in N. Korea, especially as the government needs external funds to purchase stuff for import.

      (Incidentally, given the current international climate I wouldn't count on the Chinese being too diligent in enforcing what are effectively US sanctions.)

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Follow the money

        China's not a great friend of the Kims. They do what they do primarily to avert the risk of having a wave of hungry refugees heading north

        At this point it's in China's interest to have the Koreas reunited as this would end the USA mandate to be on the peninsula and China's no longer desperately poor compared to SK

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Follow the money

          "At this point it's in China's interest to have the Koreas reunited as this would end the USA mandate to be on the peninsula and China's no longer desperately poor compared to SK"

          The assumption is logical, but there are other reasons why China might not want that to happen. For one thing, if North Korea ceases to exist, nothing says the US would definitely take their forces away or that Seoul would ask them to. In fact, if they continue to have an alliance, it could mean that US forces end up moving to the north instead, putting them even closer to China's borders.

          China does not have full control over what North Korea does, but it can encourage some activities and motivate Pyongyang to do what it says. This may be useful in a variety of ways. The typical example, and one that is plausible but only relevant if China changes their plans for Taiwan, is using North Korea as a distraction if they conduct a military operation. For instance, if they can get North Korea to start something when they invade Taiwan, then US, Korean, and Japanese forces would be divided, possibly diluting their ability to counter an invasion of Taiwan. There is also the fact that North Korea and Russia have closer diplomatic ties and that Russia doesn't really want to see North Korea cease to exist. North Korea has been playing Russia/Soviet Union and China off each other since it was founded, being sort of friendly to both while seeing who would give them the most, and they're likely to continue doing so.

  6. bill 27

    Cartoon image.

    Love the image. So much that I use it as the login screen/wallpaper on a couple of computers.

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