By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- More than 30 North Korean hackers are suspected of having helped a South Korean criminal gang attain money by breaking into online game programs and transferring part of their payments to their home country, police said Thursday.
The communist regime is known to have launched several cyber attacks on the South in the past, but it is the first time North Korean hackers are suspected of making a profit from their activities.
According to police in Seoul, the hackers were hired to make so-called "auto programs" that could break into South Korean online game servers and collect items. Police said they arrested five South Korean members of the criminal gang on charges of building and distributing the illegal programs.
The North Koreans operated from bases in China starting in June 2009 and received accommodation and living costs from their South Korean sponsors. They are suspected of sending US$500 from their earnings each month to the North Korean government.
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