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N Korean hackers trying to access vaccine research, Seoul says

Research on the creation of a coronavirus vaccine in South Korean labs has become a regular target of North Korean hackers, according to intelligence agencies in Seoul.

Seoul, 27 November 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Research on the creation of a coronavirus vaccine in South Korean labs has become a regular target of North Korean hackers, according to intelligence agencies in Seoul.

Lawmakers briefed by the NIS intelligence service said the attacks had been unsuccessful so far. The NIS did not tell them which research agencies had been targeted, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing Ha Tae Keung, a member of the intelligence committee.

The statements corroborate warnings from Microsoft from earlier this month that North Korean and Russian hackers are attempting to extract secrets from vaccine researchers in France, South Korea and the United States. Microsoft also said most attacks have been unsuccessful.

NIS agents reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been pursuing “irrational measures” as he tries to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. His policies are damaging an already reeling economy, for example, by banning fishing and salt production, for fear that saltwater is contaminated with the coronavirus.

North Korea is one of the few countries that has reported no domestic cases of the disease. It slammed its borders shut early on during the global health crisis.

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