South Korea foils North Korea attempt to hack COVID-19 vaccine makers


SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's intelligence agency foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, lawmakers said on Friday.

Ha Tae-keung, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, said after being briefed by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) that the agency did not specify how many and which drugmakers were targeted but said there was no damage from the hacking attempts.

The revelation came after Microsoft said early this month that hackers working for the Russian and North Korean governments have tried to break into the networks of seven pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States.

The closed-door briefings by the NIS, which shares intelligence and analysis with counterparts among key neighbours, provide rare public access to information about the reclusive North.

Ha and another member Kim Byung-kee said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had taken some "unreasonable" actions due to COVID-19 "paranoia."

They said those actions included banning fishing and salt production because of fears that seawater might have been contaminated with the virus, and stranding some 110,000 tons of rice from China in the northeastern Chinese port of Dalian.

"He has been expressing emotional excess, anger and signs of stress, and increasingly giving unreasonable orders," Ha told reporters.

North Korea has not confirmed any coronavirus infection, but the NIS had said an outbreak there cannot be ruled out as the country had active trade and people-to-people exchanges with China before closing the border in late January.

Pyongyang has not issued any official response to the recent U.S. presidential election, but the government has urged all its overseas diplomatic missions to exercise caution and not "provoke" the United States, lawmaker Kim said.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Sam Holmes & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In World

'No plan, no Q, nothing': QAnon followers reel as Biden inaugurated
WiFi 6E: what difference will it make for me?
U.S. crude oil inventories up last week: API
EBRD invests 812 mln euros in Ukraine in 2020
ICU nurse receives first COVID-19 vaccine in Panama
Biden signs executive order on mask challenge amid COVID-19
U.S.-listed Chinese firms trade mostly higher
U.S. stocks hit fresh records as Biden sworn in as president
Trump's vice president Pence applauds successor at inauguration
NYS COVID-19 hospitalizations up to 9,273, positivity rate down to 6.84 pct: governor

Stories You'll Enjoy