North Korea Tried To Hack Pfizer To Obtain Information On COVID Vaccine, South Spy Agency Reported


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

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 swept the world, killing more than two million. . people.

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

And the shutdown has added to pressure on its faltering economy due to international sanctions imposed on its banned weapons systems, increasing Pyongyang’s urgency to find a way to deal with the disease.

Seoul’s National Intelligence Service “informed us that North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the Covid vaccine and treatment using cyber warfare to hack 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 targeted companies, institutions, and researchers in the South and elsewhere.

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

It is based on a technology that uses the synthetic version of a molecule called “messenger RNA” to hack human cells and effectively turn them into vaccine manufacturing factories.

Pfizer says it expects to potentially deliver up to 2 billion doses this year.

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

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