North Korea apparently tried to hack Pfizer for COVID vaccine info

Pfizer says it expects to potentially deliver up to 2 billion doses this year. North Korea tried to hack Pfizer for COVID vaccine information, South’s spy agency said to have reported

February 16, 2021 / 7:14 AM
/ AFP

Top Pfizer scientist on COVID-19 vaccine

Top Pfizer scientist on COVID-19 vaccine

08:23

North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a search for information on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment technology, South Korea’s spy agency said Tuesday, according to a South Korean lawmaker. Trending News

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Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, developed jointly with Germany’s BioNTech, began winning approval from authorities late last year. North Korea is known to operate an army of thousands of well-trained hackers who have attacked companies, institutions and researchers in the South and elsewhere. It’s based on technology that uses the synthetic version of a molecule called “messenger RNA” to hack into human cells and effectively turn them into vaccine-making factories. The company’s South Korean office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by AFP. The impoverished, nuclear-armed North has been under self-imposed isolation since closing its borders in January last year to try to protect itself from the virus that first emerged in neighboring China and has gone on to sweep the world, killing more than two million people. And the closure has added to the pressure on its tottering economy from international sanctions imposed over its banned weapons systems, increasing the urgency for Pyongyang to find a way to deal with the disease. Seoul’s National Intelligence Service “briefed us that North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the Covid vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer”, Parliament member Ha Tae-keung told reporters after a hearing behind closed doors. First published on February 16, 2021 / 4:26 AM Leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly insisted that the country has had no coronavirus cases, although outside experts doubt those assertions.