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How to Address the FBI Warning on Synthetic Identities: The North Korean Infiltration of Fake Employees

synthetic identities

With fake and synthetic identities emerging as a potent tool for nefarious actors, the threat of cyber deception looms large. Recent revelations shed light on the sophisticated tactics employed by individuals seeking to infiltrate organizations using fraudulent personas. This blog explores the evolving landscape of synthetic identities, the imperative for businesses to bolster their defenses, and Constella’s innovative response with its Advanced Know Your Employee (KYE) solution.

Unveiling the Elaborate Ruse

Across industries and borders, malicious actors are employing elaborate strategies to deceive organizations and gain unauthorized access. Through fake names, counterfeit documents, and meticulously crafted online profiles, these actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise sensitive information. Constella’s advanced capabilities, leveraging the world’s largest data lake of more than 1 trillion assets collected from the surface, deep, and dark web, can reveal the widespread presence of synthetic identities across freelancing platforms, online communities, and even within existing organizations, underscoring the pervasive nature of this threat.

The Mechanics of Synthetic Identities

Synthetic identities are not merely a collection of false information but carefully constructed personas designed to evade traditional verification processes. Fraudsters combine real and fabricated data to create these identities, making them harder to detect. This sophisticated approach allows them to open bank accounts, apply for credit, and gain employment under assumed identities.

According to a TransUnion report, synthetic identity fraud reached record levels in 2023, with U.S. lender exposure to synthetic identities reaching a staggering $2.9 billion.

Warning on a Global Scale: A Call to Vigilance

Late last year, Reuters broke a startling revelation: The North Korean government had been orchestrating a covert operation using synthetic identities to infiltrate Western companies, aiding its weapons programs.

In this high-stakes investigation, Constella’s solution helped to sift through millions of data points to identify anomalies and potential threats. This capability is invaluable in helping organizations in uncovering synthetic identities—fake personas constructed using a combination of real and fabricated information. By cross-referencing data from various sources, Constella is able to pinpoint inconsistencies that flag potential synthetic identities used by operatives or other malicious actors.

On May 16, 2024, the FBI issued an advisory to help companies recognize and counter threats related to fake IT workers entering the U.S. workforce. Stressing the importance of rigorous identity verification processes, the advisories outlined red flags and specific measures, including comprehensive background checks and video interviews. The imperative for businesses to enhance their identity verification processes and fortify their defenses against cyber deception has never been clearer. That same day, The DOJ announced multiple arrests linked to the scheme, targeting individuals who facilitated using stolen identities. Among those arrested was Christina Marie Chapman from Arizona, who ran “laptop farms” to help North Korean IT workers remotely access company networks under false pretenses. These actions are part of a broader strategy to dismantle the network and hold those who enable such fraud accountable. 

Constella’s Groundbreaking Response: Advanced KYE Solution

Constella Intelligence introduced its Advanced Know Your Employee (KYE) solution in response to the escalating threat landscape. Leveraging our proprietary AI profiling engine and the world’s largest data lake comprising more than one trillion assets, this innovative solution empowers organizations to uncover synthetic identities and manage internal identity risks with unparalleled precision. From continuous monitoring to enhanced identity verification, Constella is revolutionizing internal risk management in an era marked by sophisticated cybercrime and fraud.

Empowering Organizations with Proactive Risk Mitigation

Constella’s Advanced KYE solution equips organizations with unrivaled capabilities for proactive risk mitigation:

Insider Monitoring

Identify and address potential threats through continuous scanning and comprehensive analysis. The solution offers insights into employee activities, helping organizations detect and mitigate risks before they escalate.

Contractor and Portfolio Monitoring

Safeguard investments and supply chain integrity with ongoing insights into contractor activities. This feature is particularly crucial for businesses that rely on third-party vendors and freelancers.

Fraudulent Employee Provisioning

Enhance traditional background checks by uncovering potential risk factors inaccessible through conventional means. This includes deep web searches and cross-referencing multiple data sources to verify employee identities.

A Paradigm Shift in Internal Identity Risk Management

As AI technology continues to evolve, its applications in fraud prevention will expand. Advanced KYE is just the beginning. Future innovations will incorporate more sophisticated approaches and broader applications, further enhancing an organization’s ability to detect and prevent synthetic identity fraud and threats.

A Collective Call to Action

As businesses navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, the threat of synthetic identities and internal risks loom. Constella’s Advanced KYE solution offers hope, enabling organizations to uncover and mitigate internal identity risks with unprecedented accuracy. Are you ready to fortify your organization against cyber deception? Discover how Constella’s Advanced KYE solution can empower your business. Schedule a free demo today and embark on a journey towards enhanced cybersecurity resilience.