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North Korea is shutting down because of COVID-19, but is rumored to be behind more than a couple cyberattacks on companies leading vaccine charges. Photo: Getty Images.
North Korea is shutting down because of COVID-19, but is rumored to be behind more than a couple cyberattacks on companies leading vaccine charges. Photo: Getty Images.

North Korean hackers burst into the COVID-19 vaccine race (and molecular warfare)

Mysterious military hacking operations plague several companies and states in the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

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The geopolitical arena is full of tactical and military operations moving in all directions.

And conflict only expands the gaps between nations, much more so in cyberspace. It is why the movement of states outside of the world purview are key, especially if their plans are stealing formulas or other scientific intellectual property.

There are already those who have referred to the so-called race for the vaccine, which has two waiting on FDA approval, as a molecular world war in regards to class and culture. To give an example, there's the alleged leak that North Korea executed a border guard for not complying with the hygiene protocol.

In a country that has reduced its imports by 90% in to isolate itself from the pandemic. Should it spread, a humanitarian catastrophe would exacerbate to unprecedented levels.

Amid the tense scenario, Kim Jong-Un, his family and close officials received a vaccine candidate for COVID-19 from the Chinese government.

But as its leaders got a dose, North Korea is also assumed as the top culprit for a number of cyberattacks carried out on companies developing vaccines around the world. The hackers posed as recruiters in social media sites and messaging apps like LinkedIn and WhatsApp to access the devices of employees. Microsoft reported that seven companies in Canada, France and the United States had been attacked by alleged Russian and North Korean hackers.

The story is also ongoing as the list of assaults continues to grow. Reuters reported that there are now up to nine companies that have been attacked, with Novavax and J&J being added to the list. Hackers gained access by mimicking online login portals to obtain passwords. AstraZeneca, which announced some of the most promising initial results, is also among those companies affected, as well as Genexine Inc, Shin Poong Pharm, the University of Tübingen, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

The United States and South Korea point to North Korea as the source of the attack, which has refused to come forward. Some do not dismiss either that the pandemic could have entered the country and that they were desperate. It is also true that the revelations have worked by leaks and that it is very difficult to determine the origin in these cases.

One thing that is clear is that, as when a drone assassination occurs, large coordinated military operations with many personnel are actually hidden behind actions of this magnitude. It has also been seen in a series of documentaries and reports that there are countries with buildings of employees at the service of the wills in the cyber-attack. So in the end what this incident shows is only the dome of the iceberg of that same network that commented on the beginning of tactical actions between countries that are no longer limited to the military or scientific.

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