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South Korean spies have reportedly said North Korean hackers tried to breach the computer systems of Pfizer seeking information on a coronavirus vaccine

South Korea's intelligence agency says North Korea has made more than 1.5 million cyberattacks a day, some targeting information on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment technology.

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.

The statement by South Korean officials is the latest accusation against North Korean hackers for attempting to steal vaccine technology, highlighting Pyongyang's alleged ongoing campaign to obtain sensitive information through nefarious means and its growing cyber capabilities.

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.

Last summer, the UK, USA and Canada all accused Russian Federation of attempting to hack organisations developing a working coronavirus vaccine.

A loosened screw in South Korea's border sensor system meant guards were not alerted and allowed the defector to cross the security zone. It's unclear when the hack on Pfizer occurred or if it was successful.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the attacks, at a time when organisations around the world were working to develop a vaccine, "completely unacceptable". Pfizer and BioNTech developed one of the COVID-19 vaccines that was approved past year for emergency use in the United States. Financial institutions and exchanges were hacked to generate revenue for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development, the document said, with the vast majority of the proceeds coming from two thefts late a year ago. 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. North Korea showed off several new missiles at military parades in October and last month, when Kim pledged to strengthen his nuclear arsenal.



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