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Hacker Attack Reports: North Korea Targets Vaccine Companies

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The South Korean secret service is sounding the alarm: Hackers from North Korea are said to be targeting developers of corona vaccines. The pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca is also said to have been the victim of a cyber attack by the People’s Republic.

According to the secret service, North Korean hackers have tried to obtain data from developers of corona vaccines in South Korea. The attacks could have been averted, said South Korean MPs who were informed about the hacking activities by the state intelligence service NIS.

The NIS had not disclosed which companies were the target, the Yonhap news agency quoted the member of the intelligence committee, Ha Tae Keung. According to information from the Reuters news agency, the British pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca is also said to have been the target of an attack by North Korean hackers. The attackers turned to employees of the group via the LinkedIn and WhatsApp platforms, two people familiar with the case told Reuters. They pretended to be headhunters and sent manipulated application documents. These contained a code with which the attackers wanted to access their victims’ computers. Apparently, however, this did not succeed.

Microsoft also reports cyber attacks

In mid-November, the software company Microsoft had reported that Russian and North Korean hackers had launched cyberattacks against vaccine manufacturers in a number of countries, including France, South Korea and the USA. However, most of the attacks were unsuccessful.

North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un recently took “irrational measures” because of the consequences of the corona pandemic, according to the NIS. The country’s economic difficulties are increasing. The isolated neighboring country has even blocked fishing and suspended salt production for fear that the seawater could be contaminated with corona viruses. North Korea is one of the few countries in the world that has not yet reported any corona infections. In order to prevent the pathogen from being introduced, the country closed its borders early on.

In addition, NIS reported that North Korea’s leadership had a “money changer” executed in October who played a major role in the domestic foreign exchange market. He was therefore blamed for sudden fluctuations in exchange rates. In August a functionary was also executed on charges of violating regulations that restricted the import of goods. There was no confirmation from North Korea for the information.

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