North Korean hackers target COVID-19 vaccine makers

North Korean hackers have targeted vaccine makers and researchers of COVID-19 across USA, UK and South Korea.

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New Delhi, 3/12: Several major pharmaceutical companies researching the vaccine for COVID-19 were targeted by a group of North Korean hackers. The hackers targeted Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc. of USA,  AstraZeneca of UK, and three South Korean companies, Genexine Inc, Boryung Pharma Co Ltd, Shin Poong Pharm Co Ltd and Celltrion Inc. All these companies have been working on the development of an experimental vaccine for the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. It has also been revealed that the hackers tried to gain access to  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the University of Tuebingen in Germany, where the research is going on. It has not been clarified whether they managed to gain access and swipe information or not.

As per the investigators’ report, the hackers have been identified as “Kimusky”, a group of hackers linked to North Korea, infamous in cybersecurity circles for years of attempts to swipe national security intelligence from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. This is not the first time that a North Korean hackers’ group has tried to infiltrate into the pharma companies data. Previously, there had been reports about AstraZeneca facing such attacks from North Korea in files with fake job offers via Whatsapp and LinkedIn laced with malware. Other hacker groups trying to steal information about the COVID-19 vaccine included groups from Iran, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Russia. Apart from AstraZeneca, who has kept silent on the issue about the data robbery, all the other companies have reported that there has been no theft of data and that they are on constant vigil about the issue.

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