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North Korean hackers try to steal information from Pfizer, South Korean deputy accuses

South Korea says cyber attacks are used by North Koreans to profit from selling stolen information.

South Korea’s intelligence agency said North Korea tried to steal information about coronavirus vaccines after hacking pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which produces one of the immunizers in use against Covid-19. The information was confirmed on Tuesday (16) by South Korean deputy Ha Tae-keung.

Cases of digital espionage against health agencies, scientists researching vaccines and pharmaceuticals have increased dramatically in this Covid-19 pandemic, with government-backed groups trying to find loopholes to irregularly obtain information about the pandemic.

According to the parliamentarian, who is on a South Korean intelligence council, Pfizer is among the hacked companies.

“There have been attempts to steal technology for vaccines and treatments against Covid through cyber attacks,” said Ha.
Pfizer’s offices in Asia and South Korea did not comment on the case. The deputy’s office confirmed the statements, but did not say when the invasion occurred or whether the hackers’ attempt was successful.

‘Army of hackers’

Last year, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) accused North Korean hackers of breaking into systems of at least nine healthcare companies, including vaccine developers Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca.

North Korea often receives accusations of having an “army of hackers” used to circumvent the various international sanctions imposed on the Kim Jong-un government and obtain money. According to experts, North Korean attackers appear to be more interested in selling the data than using it to develop a local vaccine.

North Korea expects to receive nearly 2 million doses of the Oxford vaccine and the AstraZeneca laboratory by the middle of this year by the COVAX consortium. The country has had no record of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, but South Korean officials say there may have been a Covid-19 outbreak last year due to close North Korean contacts with neighboring China. .

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