Having a large number of people go into massively multiplayer games just to farm the in-game gold and game items is something that has been going on for years. Now comes word via the New York Times that the North Korean government might be trying to do the same thing in order to help gain revenues to prop up its poor economy. Authorities in the countrys neighbor of South Korea, a center for MMO game development, have arrested "four South Koreans and a Korean-Chinese" last week on charges that they were working with a group of 30 hackers to breach South Korean MMO games.
According to the story, the hacking team created software that went after MMO games such as NCsofts very popular fantasy MMO Lineage. The result was the accumulation of in-game gold and items that can later be traded and bought for cash at other web sites. The story claims that in two years the group raised $6 million with this effort. Some of the money was forwarded over to North Korea. The story adds, "The North Korean computer experts were each required to send at least $500 a month back to the Pyongyang government."
Technically both North and South Korea are still at war with each other after a over 50 year truce was established after the end of the Korean war. The article says that North Korea, largely isolated from the rest of the world, has been trying new ways to help fund its failing economy.