North Korea based notorious hacking group Lazarus has launched a massive cyber attack on Israel’s leading defense industries. The Israeli security establishment said that the Directorate of Security for the Defense Establishment along with other security institutions have successfully thwarted the attack. Lazarus is reportedly backed by North Korea’s top leadership.
Israel thwarts North Korea’s cyber attack
Lazarus members used a variety of hacking techniques including impersonation and ‘social engineering’ to carry out the attack. The hackers created fake LinkedIn profiles, which people use for job searches and professional networking.
The Lazarus hackers impersonated top level executives including CEOs and managers. They even created fake profiles of the representatives of foreign defense companies, according to an investigation of the case. Then they started contacting employees of Israel’s leading defense companies, building up conversations and offering them lucrative job opportunities.
While chatting with the employees of Israeli defense companies on LinkedIn, the North Korean hackers attempted to install malware on their computers. Lazarus members tried to infiltrate the Israeli defense networks to obtain valuable sensitive information.
According to the Middle-East security expert Seth Frantzman, the hackers also used the official websites of companies to hack into their servers.
The Israeli Directorate of Security for the Defense Establishment’s Tech Unit identified North Korea’s cyber attack in real time. The Tech Unit tracked the attacks on the Ministry of Defense as well as the cyber security systems used by defense companies.
Neither the companies nor the Ministry of Defense suffered any damage or disruption. Directorate of Security along with other security bodies is still investigating the breach.
Not the first time
It’s not the first time North Korea has launched a cyber attack on Israel. In March 2019, the same hacking group Lazarus targeted an Israeli defense company. ClearSky Cyber Security, which exposed the attack, said at the time that the target company made components and systems for military and aerospace industries.
They might have attacked the company to steal commercial secrets, though it could also have been military espionage.