The MP said it was unclear how many and which drug manufacturers were affected, adding that no harm was found.

South Korean intelligence has foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, News1 reported on Friday, citing a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee.

Lawmaker Ha Tae-keung said after being briefed by the National Intelligence Agency the agency failed to disclose how many and which drug manufacturers were affected, but said the hacking attempts did no harm, News1 said.

North Korea did not immediately respond to the allegation.

Last week, Microsoft said hackers working for the Russian and North Korean governments tried to break into the networks of seven drug companies and vaccine researchers in South Korea, Canada, France, India and the US.

Advanced economies are racing to develop, manufacture, and distribute an effective vaccine against the coronavirus.

The ongoing and ongoing attacks on coronavirus vaccine research around the world are viewed by intelligence officials as an attempt to steal intellectual property rather than disrupting the research itself.

In July, China-backed hackers were accused of cracking down on biotech company Moderna – a leading coronavirus vaccine developer in the United States – in an attempt to steal valuable data. Earlier this month, Moderna announced that the vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in large-scale studies.

The attempted hacking attempt in South Korea was exposed as the country grappled with a third wave of the pandemic. 569 new cases were reported on Friday, the second day in a row that infections have increased by more than 500.

The death rate remains low, however, as another death was reported Friday, bringing the total death toll to 516 – one of the lowest in developed countries.

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