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Suspected North Korean hackers have reportedly attempted to crack into the systems of AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company which has recently emerged as being amonst the top three coronavirus vaccine developers.
This attempt to target AstraZeneca reportedly occured in recent weeks, while the company is working to deploy their new vaccine.
Hackers reportedly pretended to be recruiters on sites such as LinkedIn and WhatsApp, approaching AstraZeneca staff with false employment opportunities before sending over documents said to be job descriptions. These were actually laced with malicious code in a bid to access the victim’s computer.
This story was exclusively uncovered by Reuters, which has reported that a ‘broad set of people’ were targeted, including those working in the field of coronavirus research.
Thankfully, it’s thought the hackers have not been successful in their attempt, two sources with knowledge of the incident told Reuters.
These anonymous sources explained that the tools and techniques used in the cyberattacks showed they were part of an ongoing hacking campaign which has been attributed to North Korea.
The campaign has previously targeted defence companies and media organisations. However, in recent weeks, the hackers have turned their attention to coronavirus-related targets.
Attacks against health bodies, vaccine scientists and drugmakers have reportedly risen steeply over the course of the pandemic, with both state-backed and criminal hacking organisations looking to to get hold of the latest research into the virus.
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