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World North Korea 'tried to hack Pfizer' - South's spies: reports

12:11  16 february  2021
12:11  16 february  2021 Source:   afp.com

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North Korea has made attempts to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology by hacking Pfizer Inc, South Korea ' s Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday citing the National Intelligence Service.

Officials in South Korea said its intelligence agency had foiled an attempt by the North to hack its coronavirus vaccine research. This comes a week after Moderna initially announced its vaccine was 94.5 percent effective and Pfizer released updated info that its own vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 percent.

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 reports.

a close up of a ramp: South Korean spies have reportedly said North Korean hackers tried to breach the computer systems of Pfizer seeking information on a coronavirus vaccine © Don EMMERT South Korean spies have reportedly said North Korean hackers tried to breach the computer systems of Pfizer seeking information on a coronavirus vaccine

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 neighbouring China and has gone on to sweep the world, killing more than two million people.

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North Korea attempted to hack into South Korean drugmakers working on coronavirus vaccines, lawmakers in Seoul announced on Friday. Lawmakers Ha Tae-keung and Kim Byung-kee, briefed by the National Intelligence Service, did not specifiy which companies were targeted by the hacking "( North Korean leader Kim Jong-un) has been expressing emotional excess, anger and signs of stress, and increasingly giving unreasonable orders," Ha told reporters. Further intelligence revelations. The spy agency that briefed the lawmakers has a mixed record in confirming developments in the North .

Leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly insisted that the country has had no coronavirus cases, although outside experts doubt those assertions.

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", MP Ha Tae-keung told reporters after a hearing behind closed doors.

North Korea is known to operate an army of thousands of well-trained hackers who have attacked firms, institutions and researchers in the South and elsewhere.

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, developed jointly with Germany's BioNTech, began winning approval from authorities late last year.

It is 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.

Pfizer says it expects to potentially deliver up to 2 billion doses in 2021.

The company's South Korean office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by AFP.

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