North Korea tried to hack Pfizer for COVID-19 vaccine data
Published: 11:03 AM, 17 February 2021
South Korea's intelligence agency on Tuesday said North Korean hackers attempted to break into the computer systems of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a search for information on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment technology.
However, it is currently unclear as to what, if any, data was stolen.
South Korea's National Intelligence Agency (NIS) privately briefed lawmakers about the alleged attack, reported local news agency Yonhap.
NIS “briefed us that North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the COVID vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer,” Ha Tae-keung, an opposition member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence panel, told reporters.
Ha did not elaborate on the timing or success of the attempt. His office confirmed his comments but gave no details.
Pfizer’s offices in Asia and South Korea did not have an immediate comment.
North Korea has not officially reported a single Covid-19 case yet - though experts say this is unlikely. The country has been under self-imposed isolation since closing its borders in January last year soon after the virus began to emerge in China. However, the country is due to receive two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in the coming weeks.
Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, developed jointly with Germany's BioNTech, began winning approval from authorities late last year. Pfizer says it expects to potentially deliver up to 2 billion doses this year. - AFP, BBC