World Vaccines against Covid-19: North Korea suspected of wanting to hack Pfizer

15:50  16 february  2021
15:50  16 february  2021 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Officially, North Korea is not affected by Covid-19, as if the pandemic stopped at its borders with Russia, China and its neighbor to the South, which themselves were no exception. This did not stop the authorities in Pyongyang of from applying for the vaccine to the United Nations. Nor, apparently, to seek to unravel the secrets of the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the first laboratory in the world to have marketed a serum against the new coronavirus.

South Korean media reported on Tuesday, citing South Korean intelligence. And an elected official from Seoul confirmed it to the local press. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) "informed us that North Korea had tried to obtain technologies including the vaccine and treatments against Covid by means of a cyber attack to hack Pfizer," says Ha Tae- keung, a center-right MP who is very committed to the issue of human rights in the North Korean neighbor.

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Thousands of highly trained hackers

There is nothing far-fetched about the accusation. According to Western experts, North Korea has an army of several thousand highly trained hackers. They have already attacked, outside their borders, companies, institutions and research centers, especially in South Korea. According to a confidential UN report released a few days ago, Pyongyang has also stolen more than $ 300 million in cryptocurrency in recent months through computer attacks intended to finance its banned nuclear and ballistic programs.

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Pyongyang was the first country in the world to close its borders, at the end of January 2020 , to try to protect oneself from the coronavirus pandemic that appeared in China in December 2019 and which has since killed more than two million people on the planet. The border closures have increased pressure on the North Korean economy, already subject to international sanctions due to the nuclear and ballistic program developed by the communist regime.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claims the country has not experienced any contamination except through illegal entry into country . Experts consider this claim unlikely, as neighboring China is Pyongyang's main trading and support partner.

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While claiming to be spared from the virus, North Korea recently made a request for vaccines against Covid-19, of which it should receive nearly two million doses, according to the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), a member of the UN Covax program which coordinates the distribution of vaccines to poor countries. This is the first official confirmation that Pyongyang has requested international aid, when North Korea's medical infrastructure is considered totally inadequate to cope with a large-scale epidemic.

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