North Korea has attempted to hack Pfizer and steal COVID-19 vaccine technology, according to South Korean officials.
These findings by South Korea's National Intelligence Service were disclosed to lawmakers during a National Assembly's intelligence committee hearing this week, with lawmaker Ha Tae-keung telling reporters, "The cyberattacks included an attempt to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment technology, to which Pfizer was subject," The Washington Post reports. It reportedly wasn't clear whether the attempt was successful.
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. The "majority of these attacks were blocked," Microsoft said. Pfizer and BioNTech developed one of the COVID-19 vaccines that was approved last year for emergency use in the United States.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has claimed the country hasn't had cases of COVID-19, though CBS News writes that "outside experts doubt those assertions," and the Post notes that North Korea is still reportedly set to receive almost two million AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine doses.