North Korea has attempted to steal information on coronavirus vaccines and treatments by hacking Pfizer, says South Korea’s intelligence agency.

It is currently the US pharmaceutical firm whose highly effective COVID-19 vaccine is being given to millions of people around the world.

While the deadly pandemic has been ravaging the whole world, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly insisted that the country has had no coronavirus cases. Although, North Korea has been under self-imposed isolation since closing its borders in January last year

According to Aljazeera, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service “disclosed that North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the COVID vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer,” Ha Tae-keung, an opposition member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence panel, told reporters.

Ha did not elaborate on the timing or success of the attempt. His office confirmed his comments but gave no details.

Pfizer’s offices in Asia and South Korea did not have an immediate comment.

Tuesday’s revelation follows attempts last year by suspected North Korean hackers to break into the systems of at least nine healthcare companies including Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has said it also foiled attempts by its neighbour to hack into South Korean firms developing coronavirus vaccines.