For a long time there were many rumours about the Hermit Kingdom (North Korea). Why it was self-evident that North Korea can get funding by money laundering, counterfeiting US currency and similar decently creative funding approaches, yet not also pay foreign hackers to do their biding is beyond me. It seems that the truth on the creativity of the Hermit Kingdom is out, thanks to a number of defectors:
But now the thinking is that North Korea may have hired foreign experts (gangsters, or other outlaw types) to obtain the needed skills. These mercs never had to even visit North Korea (and most preferred not to), all they had to do is what the normally do, and collect their pay.
Now all we have to do is just wait for a similarly ground-breaking news that other countries have been doing this same thing (not all payments are necessarily monetary - some may pay by letting hackers remain at large).