According to South Korean intelligence administrators, North Korea has tried to steal the Covid-19 vaccine technology from the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer. Since closing its borders in January last year, North Korea has been under self-imposed isolation. Kim Jong Un has repeatedly insisted that no coronavirus cases have occurred in the region.
“The Seoul National Intelligence Service “informed us that by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer, North Korea attempted to obtain technology involving the COVID vaccine and treatment,” Ha Tae-Keung, an opposition member the parliamentary intelligence panel in South Korea, told reporters. His office confirmed his remarks but did not provide any details. Pfizer’s Asian and South Korean offices did not have an immediate comment.
The revelation on Tuesday follows last year’s attempts to break into the systems of at least nine healthcare companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, and AstraZeneca, by suspected North Korean hackers.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) of South Korea has also foiled its neighbor’s attempts to hack into South Korean firms developing coronavirus vaccines. As international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program make it almost impossible for the country to trade, North Korea is often accused of turning to an army of hackers to make money, and health experts say its motivation to attack the vaccine developers may be to sell the stolen data rather than develop its vaccine.