N. Korean hackers tried to steal Pfizer vaccine know-how, lawmaker says

South Korean guard post

The North Korean regime tried to hack United States drugmaker Pfizer in an effort to steal information on the company's coronavirus vaccine, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers Tuesday Ri may have been taking care of the couple's children and avoiding public exposure during the coronavirus pandemic, Kim Byung-kee, a ruling Democratic Party lawmaker, said after a meeting of a parliamentary intelligence committee.

North Korea is often accused of turning to an army of hackers to fill its cash-strapped coffers amid global sanctions that ban most worldwide trade with it.

North Korea is expected to receive almost 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine by the first half of this year through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme.

Meanwhile, North Korea has officially claimed that it has had no cases of coronavirus.

The companies, however, added that the hackers could not breach their systems.

Health experts have said the country's hackers may be more interested in selling the stolen vaccine data than using it to develop a homegrown vaccine.

Last summer, the UK, USA and Canada all accused Russian Federation of attempting to hack organisations developing a working coronavirus vaccine. The site description matches the Goseong Unification Observatory near the DMZ on South Korea's eastern coast. Pfizer and BioNTech developed one of the COVID-19 vaccines that was approved a year ago for emergency use in the United States. The "majority of these attacks were blocked", Microsoft said. Pyongyang's cyberwarfare abilities first came to global prominence in 2014 when it was accused of hacking into Sony Pictures Entertainment as revenge for "The Interview", a satirical film that mocked leader Kim. Pyongyang's hackers were blamed for the 2017 WannaCry global ransomware cyberattack, which infected some 300,000 computers in 150 nations, encrypting user files and demanding hundreds of dollars from their owners for the keys to get them back. North Korea showed off several new missiles at military parades in October and last month, when Kim pledged to strengthen his nuclear arsenal.



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