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16 Feb, 2021 12:07

North Korean hackers attempted to steal Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine data, South Korean lawmaker claims

North Korean hackers attempted to steal Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine data, South Korean lawmaker claims

A South Korean lawmaker has revealed that the country’s intelligence agency identified an attempt by North Korean hackers to steal data related to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and methods for treating and tackling the virus.

Ha Tae-keung, who serves on the country’s parliamentary intelligence committee, said that officials had informed them that Pfizer had been victim to a North Korean hacking attempt which sought to target the pharmaceutical company’s vaccine data.

There were attempts to steal COVID vaccine and treatment technology during cyber attacks and Pfizer was hacked.

It is not clear whether the attack was successful or if any data was stolen and Pfizer has not yet commented on the situation.

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This is not the first time that North Korea has been accused of attempting to steal data from companies working on Covid-19 vaccines. Last year, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, among others, were all believed to have been targeted by the East Asian nation. 

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has previously claimed to have prevented several hacking attempts from North Korea on healthcare firms in the country. 

Health officials have suggested that the reasoning for the attacks is less about securing data to allow North Korea to domestically produce vaccines and more about the country seeking to sell information that is stolen through cyber espionage.

North Korea is officially part of the global COVAX scheme, run by Gavi and the World Health Organization, and is due to receive around two million doses of a vaccine later in 2021. Due to the nation’s reluctance to share data on the impact of the pandemic in the country, it is not known if or how many infections and fatalities it has suffered.

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