The suspected hackers of North Korea have attempted to break into the systems of the British drugmaker AstraZeneca as it races for developing a coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine, as per reports. The hackers who posed as recruiters on networking site LinkedIn and WhatsApp for approaching staff of AstraZeneca with fake job offers in recent times, as stated by two sources.

They then sent the documents claiming to be the job descriptions that were laced with dangerous code designed for gaining the access to a victim's computer. The hacking attempts targeted a huge set of people, which included the staff working on coronavirus research, stated one of the sources but are not thought to not have been successful.

Hacking of COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Vaccine
Coronavirus vaccine Pixabay

Microsoft stated this month it had witnessed two North Korean hacking groups target vaccine developers in many nations. South Korean lawmakers mentioned on Friday that the nation's intelligence agency had foiled few of those attempts. The mission of North Korea to the United Nations in Geneva did not give any response to a request for comment.

Pyongyang has earlier denied carrying out cyberattacks. It has no direct line of contact for foreign media. AstraZeneca that has come out as one of the top three developers of the coronavirus vaccine did not give any comment. It is developing the vaccine with Oxford University.

The sources mentioned that the tools and techniques used in the attacks showed they were part of the ongoing hacking campaign that the US officials and cybersecurity scientists have attributed to North Korea. The campaign had earlier focused on defence companies and media organizations but pivoted to coronavirus-related targets in recent weeks, as per three people who investigated the attacks.

Cyberattacks against vaccine scientists and drugmakers have raised in recent times. The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 61 million people worldwide and claimed the lives of over 1.4 million people globally.