South Korean intelligence officials have accused North Korea of trying to hack US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in order to obtain vaccine treatment and technology about the COVID-19 virus.
According to a report on Reuters, Ha Tae-keung, an opposition member of the parliamentary intelligence panel said that Seoul’s National Intelligence Service had “briefed us that North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the Covid vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer.”
“There were attempts to steal COVID vaccine and treatment technology during cyber attacks and Pfizer was hacked,” he said.
A History Of Hacking
This isn’t the first time North Korea has been accused of trying to hack foreign parties in order to get hold of data on the Coronavirus.
Last year, Microsoft said it had detected state-backed hackers in both North Korea and Russia attempting to breach at least nine health organisations including Pfizer. It pointed to two North Korean groups, named Zinc and Cerium, and a Russian group named Fancy Bear, as the responsible parties. Russia, for its part, denied any involvement.
North Korea closed its borders in January of last year as the Coronavirus began to spread throughout the region. The country’s authorities have yet to report a single case of COVID-19, although health experts look on its clean sheet as dubious.
That having been said, North Korea is set to receive two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in the coming weeks – the same vaccine whose roll-out was recently halted in South Africa.