North Korea targets Pfizer in vaccine hack

North Korean man caught after crossing heavily guarded border

Kim Jong Un's Wife Reappears After Unusual 1-Year Absence

South Korea's military said on Tuesday it had captured a North Korean man who crossed the heavily fortified border between the two countries and was investigating whether he tried to defect.

Article content In this file photo taken on June 30, 2019 North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump cross south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, after Trump briefly stepped over to the northern side, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ).

North Korea had requested Covid-19 vaccines earlier this month and was expected to receive almost two million doses, according to the Gavi vaccine alliance, part of the WHO-backed Covax program.

The companies, however, added that the hackers could not breach their systems. Many outside experts are highly skeptical about North Korea's claims to have had no coronavirus cases but say the country likely has avoided a widespread outbreak thanks to more than a year of stringent lockdowns.

Ha Tae-keung, an opposition member of the parliamentary intelligence panel, said the pharmaceutical giant was among those hacked in the bid to steal information on vaccines and treatments.

Last summer, the UK, USA and Canada all accused Russian Federation of attempting to hack organisations developing a working coronavirus vaccine. A Pfizer representative said she was not immediately able to comment. Pfizer and BioNTech developed one of the COVID-19 vaccines that was approved previous year for emergency use in the United States. The allegations come only a week after a confidential United Nations report seen by AFP said North Korea had stolen more than $300 million worth of cryptocurrencies through cyberattacks in recent months to support its weapons programmes. The panel suspects Pyongyang used the money to finance its nuclear and missile programs. Pyongyang's cyberwarfare abilities first came to global prominence in 2014 when it was accused of hacking into Sony Pictures Entertainment as revenge for "The Interview", a satirical film that mocked leader Kim. The attack resulted in the posting of several unreleased movies as well as a vast trove of confidential documents online.

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