Coronavirus Vaccine Makers Targeted By North Korean Hackers Who Wanted To Steal Information


  • Kimsuky hacker group targeted at least six drugmakers
  • The cyberattacks targeted companies developing COVID-19 treatment
  • Russian and North Korean hackers attacked AstraZeneca in November

A group of North Korean hackers has targeted half a dozen pharmaceutical companies in the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea in a coordinated cyberattack. 

Kimsuky, a notorious hacker group, targeted drugmakers working on potential coronavirus vaccines and treatments as part of an effort to steal sensitive information that could be sold or weaponized by the North Korean regime. 

Authorities said any stolen information could be used to extort victims or give foreign governments a strategic advantage. 

Since August, the hackers have worked to infiltrate U.S. companies Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc. The hackers also launched coordinated cyberattacks on South Korean companies Genexine Inc., Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co. and Celltrion Inc., sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Both American drugmakers are working

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EU fines drug makers for keeping cheap medicine off market

Boxes of tablets, produced by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The European Union has fined two pharmaceutical companies for colluding to keep a cheap alternative to a sleep disorder medicine off the market for their profit and at the expense of patients.

EU antitrust commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said that Teva pharmaceuticals and Cephalon, a company it later acquired, must pay 60.5 million euros ($72 million) for agreeing between themselves to delay for years the launch of Teva’s cheaper version of Cephalon’s blockbuster Modafinil. In return for the delay, Teva got beneficial side deals and some payments.

Vestager said that “Teva’s and Cephalon’s pay-for-delay agreement harmed patients and national health systems, depriving them of more affordable medicines.”

Modafinil treats excessive daytime sleepiness and under the brand name Provigil it accounted for more than 40% of Cephalon’s turnover. A cheap alternative would have had a serious impact

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3 Chinese firms in world’s top 5 biggest smartphone makers

The logo of Xiaomi is seen inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India, Jan 18, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo have occupied three positions among a ranking of the world’s top five largest smartphone vendors by shipments in the third quarter of this year, according to a recent report from the market consultancy Gartner on Monday.

Samsung took the crown in the ranking with sales of 80.8 million units to gain 22 percent of the global market share, followed by Huawei with sales at 51.83 million units to grab 14.1 percent of the market share.

Xiaomi made a strong surge of 34.9 percent year-on-year by selling 44.41 million units in Q3 to account for 12.1 percent of the market share, surpassing Apple to rank third among the top five.

Apple and Oppo came in fourth and fifth, with shipments of 40.5 million units and 29.89 million

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Academics, video game makers team up in rare collaboration

LONDON (AP) — A study by Oxford University researchers on how playing video games affects mental health used data from video game makers, marking what the authors say is a rare collaboration between academics and the game industry.

Lack of transparency from game makers has long been an issue for scientists hoping to better understand player behaviors.

The paper released Monday by the Oxford Internet Institute comes as video game sales this year have boomed as more people are stuck at home because of the pandemic and many countries have once again imposed limits on public life.

The findings are based on survey responses from people over 18 who played two games, Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The study used data provided by the game makers, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, on how much time the respondents spent playing, unlike previous research that

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North Korean hackers tried to trick COVID-19 vaccine makers by posing as WHO officials

Kim Jong-un wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. Getty

© Provided by Business Insider
Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. Getty

  • North Korean and Russian state-backed hacking groups have tried to target COVID-19 vaccine-makers, Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday.
  • One of the North Korean groups, known as Cerium, tried to gain access to systems by sending “spear-phishing” emails posing as WHO officials.
  • A second North Korean group, pretending to be recruiters, sent emails containing phoney job descriptions.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

State-backed hackers are trying audacious tactics to break into the systems of COVID-19 vaccine-makers.


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In a blog post Friday, Microsoft detailed several attempted cyberattacks it had detected in recent months that targeted companies working on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Microsoft said three state-hacking groups, one Russian and two from North Korea, conducted the attacks.

Although it did not name the targets, Microsoft said they included seven “prominent” companies

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Biden’s science advisers to meet with vaccine makers in coming days

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s scientific advisers will meet with vaccine makers in coming days as the presidential transition remains stalled because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election. That delayed handoff is especially problematic during a public health crisis, the government’s top infectious disease expert said.

“Of course it would be better if we could start working with them,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been through multiple presidential transitions during 36 years of government service. He likened the process to runners passing on the baton in a relay race. “You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody,” he said. “You want to just essentially keep going.”

The president-elect’s outreach to the vaccine manufacturers comes as the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has entered perhaps its most dangerous phase. The seven-day

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Indian smartphone makers poised for comeback!

India does have a handful of home-grown smartphone manufacturers. But the bitter truth is that they have failed miserably in cornering the massive, lucrative home market.

The barrage of cheaper Chinese products packed with high-end specifications, making their way into India since 2016, have relegated Indian brands to oblivion. As of now, four Chinese brands, namely Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme, along with South Korea’s Samsung, command over 94 percent of our market.

Even the rising anti-China sentiment galvanised by the deadly Chinese attack on Indian troops in the northern border in Ladakh failed to revive the domestic manufacturers’ fate.  As per latest reports, smartphone shipments in India hit a record 50 million in the September quarter.

But there could be a glimmer of hope.

In October, after three-long years, Samsung gained the number one spot in India’s smartphone market beating Xiaomi. This is in part due to the anti-China

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