Alleged North Korean hackers have tried in recent weeks to access the AstraZeneca computer systems, as explained to Reuters by two people with knowledge of the matter, at a time when the British pharmaceutical company is finalizing the development of its candidate vaccine for covid-19.
The hackers posed as rrecruiters on LinkedIn and WhatsApp to propose false job offers to AstraZeneca employees. They later sent documents that pretended to be job descriptions and included malicious code designed to access the victim’s computer.
The hacking attempts targeted a “broad group of people,” including staff working on the covid-19 vaccine research, although the firm believes the hackers did not succeed.
AstraZeneca, one of the top three developers of the Covid-19 vaccine, declined to comment.
The sources – who spoke on condition of anonymity – indicated that the tools and techniques used in the attacks were part of an ongoing hacking campaign that US officials and cybersecurity researchers attribute to North Korea.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva did not respond to a request for comment. Pyongyang, which does not have a direct line of contact with foreign media, has on other occasions denied having carried out cyber attacks.