The US government warns against hiring freelancers who could come from North Korea. These are spies. Several US government departments, along with the FBI, warned in a joint statement of alleged attempts by North Korea to hire their own IT experts as remote workers at companies. These are actually spies of the regime who have other goals in mind and apparently also work with secret service means.
Because as the official warning (PDF) shows, the spies from North Korea used numerous forged documents to pose as citizens of other countries. This included driver's licenses, passports, or identity cards as well as fictitious university degrees or credit card information. According to the US government, complete cover identities are apparently being created.
Most of the IT workers are sent directly from authorities in North Korea who work for the internationally sanctioned weapons program. The money received from the remote workers when they are successful in finding work also goes directly into weapon development. This is particularly relevant because capable IT professionals could generate more than $300,000 a year in this way, at least ten times that of ordinary North Korean workers who are posted to construction projects or factories around the world.
In addition, the positions would not only be used to procure foreign currency, according to the warning, some of North Korea's remote workers also focus on criminal activities and use their existing access to do so. Here, among other things, assets in cryptocurrencies are stolen, ransomware is imported and ransoms are demanded or simply classic industrial espionage is carried out, as the US government writes.