On Wednesday the Israeli defense ministry said it had foiled an attempted cyber attack by a foreign group targeting defense manufacturers in the country.
It said the attempt was made by “an international cyber community called ‘Lazarus,’ a foreign-backed organization.”
The United States has related Lazarus to the regime of North Korea, but the Israeli statement did not specify the foreign country concerned, nor did it say when the attempted attack occurred, or which firms it attacked.
The defense ministry refused to provide further information when contacted by AFP.
“The cyber-attacks were detected and stopped in real time,” it said in a statement in the English language, adding that “no damage or disruption” was caused.
In March, the US Treasury expelled two Chinese people and accused them of collaborating with the North Korean-sponsored Lazarus Group and blamed an unspecified crypto-currency exchange in which around $250 million was stolen for the April 2018 hack.
Washington last September imposed sanctions against three North Korean organizations suspected of cyber attacks, including the Lazarus Group, which was involved in the theft of about $80 million from Bangladesh’s central bank.
It was also accused of being behind the 2017 WannaCry attack that affected about 300,000 computers worldwide including in the United States , Canada and New Zealand.
The hardest affected was the public health system in Britain, where hospitals were effectively shut down and thousands of patients turned away, eventually costing the government more than $112 million.
Lazarus Group was founded in 2007 and has been known to authorities for years, and was banned in 2016 by the United Nations.
The US Treasury said it was linked to the General Bureau of Reconnaissance, Pyongyang ‘s main intelligence agency.
In the Israeli incident, the statement from the defense ministry said, “Attackers impersonated executives, CEOs and senior officials in HR departments … and threatened employees of Israel ‘s leading security industries.”
It said they posed as recruiters of staff and tried to lure the workers with lucrative work opportunities.
They tried to hack computers of employees in the process, it said, “and collect sensitive security information.”
Israel is a constant target of hacking attacks and has a broad network of agencies to combat the threats.
In 2019, Israel’s exports to defense totaled $7.2 billion, with the majority going to Asia and the Pacific.