North Korea tried to hack Pfizer to obtain vaccine technology

North Korea tried to hack Pfizer to obtain vaccine technology

Ha Tae-keung said Tuesday that he and other lawmakers were briefed on the hack by South Korea's National Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency.

This comes after Microsoft revealed in November that North Korean and Russian hackers had targeted "seven prominent companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for COVID-19", including pharmaceutical companies. In an unusual rebuke, the NIS public affairs office called Ha's comments "wrong".

Today's news comes after attempts a year ago by suspected North Korean hackers to break into the systems of at least nine healthcare firms, such as Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc, and AstraZeneca. Pfizer says it expects to potentially deliver up to 2 billion doses in 2021.

A loosened screw in South Korea's border sensor system meant guards were not alerted and allowed the defector to cross the security zone.

Ha is one of the two executive secretaries of the intelligence committees whose responsibilities include relaying the content of private NIS briefings at parliament to journalists.

Within North Korea, there was speculation she may have taken ill, taking care of a member of the Kim family who had gotten sick or staying at home to prepare her youngest daughter to start school, Daily NK, a Seoul-based website that gathers information from informants inside the isolated nation, reported.

North Korea claims to have had zero coronavirus cases but experts believe an outbreak can not be ruled out.

The World Health Organization-backed COVAX said in a forecast that the supplies going to North Korea will likely be provided by India's Serum Institute, which is licensed to produce vaccines that AstraZeneca developed with the University of Oxford.

Although it claims to be free of the virus, North Korea has requested coronavirus vaccines and is set to receive almost 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, according to the Gavi Alliance, part of the United Nations-backed Covax effort that aims to deliver vaccines to the world's most vulnerable people.

There was no immediate reaction to the South Korean intelligence account from North Korea's state media.

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