It is not known whether the North Korean hackers managed to obtain any useful information.
Hackers and North Koreans have been trying to access the development of at least six pharmaceutical companies working on drugs against COVID-19 since August, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
According to the newspaper’s interlocutors, the companies in question are Johnson & Johnson Novavax Inc. from the United States, South Korean companies Genexine Inc., Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co. and Celltrion Inc., as well as British AstraZeneca PLC.
The North Korean trail, according to the sources of the publication, managed to get on the digital footprint, in particular IP-addresses, which were previously identified in hacker attacks on the U.S. State Department and the South Korean Ministry of Unification.
South Korean companies Shin Poong and Celltrion confirmed the attacks, indicating that they suffered no damage. A representative of Shin Poong said that the attacks were carried out through e-mail, in turn, Celltrion said that hackers have intensified, especially in the second half of 2020.
In the companies Johnson & Johnson and Novavax noted that they are aware of threats from abroad and show the necessary vigilance.
In late November, the Singapore-based The Straits Times reported, citing South Korean MP Ha Tae Gen, that South Korean intelligence had prevented DPRK hackers from preventing the development of a vaccine against coronavirus.