South Korea Has New Accusation Against North Korea

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 state intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers on Tuesday that Ri seems to be avoiding public activities as a precaution against coronavirus infections, news agency Yonhap reported.

Article content In this file photo taken on June 30, 2019 North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump cross south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, after Trump briefly stepped over to the northern side, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ).

An worldwide health group established to promote global access to coronavirus vaccines said earlier this month that North Korea could potentially receive 1.9 million doses of vaccines manufactured in India during the first half of the year.

The companies, however, added that the hackers could not breach their systems.

The anniversary celebrating the second member of the Kim dynasty to lead the now nuclear-armed North Korea is known as the Day of the Shining Star, and is one of the country's most important public holidays. Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, developed jointly with Germany's BioNTech, began winning approval from authorities late previous year. It is based on technology that uses the synthetic version of a molecule called "messenger RNA" to hack into human cells and effectively turn them into vaccine-making factories.

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Ha said the wording about Pfizer "was so clear that I didn't even ask about that verbally" during the briefing. The company's South Korean office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by AFP.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE later stated that documents pertaining to their vaccine development had been targeted in a cyberattack on the European Medicines Agency.

Park was also accused of involvement in an $81 million heist on the Bangladesh central bank and a 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in apparent revenge for its movie "The Interview" - a spoof about an assassination attempt on the North Korean leader. 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 past year.

Why had Kim's wife been out of public view?

Pyongyang has denied the accusations, saying it has "nothing to do with cyber-attacks".

Cross-border ties soured after denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington stalled in 2019. 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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