N. Korea tries to hack S. Korean vaccine-makers

South Korea's intelligence agency foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, according to officials.

Ha Tae-keung, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee said on Friday that they were briefed by the National Intelligence Service, NIS.

The agency did not specify how many and which drugmakers were targeted.

Ha said the NIS confirmed there was no damage from the hacking attempt.

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.

Ha and another lawmaker 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.

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.

Video Transcript

- South Korea's intelligence agency foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, according to officials. Ha Tae-keung a member of the parliamentary Intelligence Committee, said on Friday that they were briefed by the National Intelligence Service, NIS.

The agency did not specify how many and which drug makers were targeted. Ha said the NIS confirmed there was no damage from the hacking attempt. 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.

Ha and another lawmaker said North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, had taken some quote, "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.

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.