‘North Korean hackers attack company developing Covid-19 vaccine’

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Hackers suspected to be based from North Korea seem to be targeting employees of the British-Swiss pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The company is at an advanced stage in the development of a vaccine against Covid-19.

The hackers are said to have approached employees of AstraZeneca via LinkedIn and WhatsApp with false job offerings. Interested employees were then sent files that presented themselves as job descriptions. These files contained code that gave the attackers access to the computer on which they were opened.

Wide group of users

Reuters writes that the attacks were aimed at a broad group of employees within AstraZeneca, including people who were working on a Covid-19 vaccine. It appears that the attackers have no succeeded in stealing anything from the company.

Strategic advantage

According to Western officials, the hackers could sell stolen information to resell for profit, extort the victims or give foreign governments a strategic advantage in the fight against the coronavirus.

The North Korean authorities have not responded to the incident. Reuters also asked AstraZeneca for a response, but that company declined the request.

Tip: North Korean hackers target U.S. aerospace and defence industry