On Wednesday, Israel claims that a North Korean hacking group attempted to compromise its classified systems to steal sensitive information. Officials said the country successfully foiled the cyberattack.

North Korean hacking group

Israel's Defense Ministry said the country defended against the hacking attempt in real-time. It was able to stop the criminals before they could steal or damage any sensitive information.

According to New York Times, security researchers at ClearSky, an international cybersecurity firm and the one to first reveal the attack was happening, said the North Korean criminal group was able to penetrate the cyber defenses of the Defense Ministry successfully.

The experts believe that hackers made off with a huge amount of classified information. Israeli officials are concerned the data could reach Iran, one of North Korea's allies.

The recent attack places Israel in the list of countries and companies that have become the target of surging cybersecurity attacks by North Korea's hacking group. The criminals are known to analysts as the Lazarus Group or Hidden Cobra. Both American and Israeli officials have stated that Pyongyang is actively supporting the efforts of the hacking group.

In a 2018 criminal complaint, United States federal prosecutors revealed North Korean members' names that are part of the Lazarus Group. The complaint stated that the group was working under the North Korean military intelligence unit's orders, Lab 110.

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The documents also accused the Lazarus Group of playing a crucial role in the devastating ransomware attack of North Korea in 2017. The massive cyberattack was known as "WannaCry" that caused over 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries to stop working.

The group was also accused of conducting the 2016 cyber-theft of more than $81 million from Bangladesh Bank, and the 2014 cyberattack of Sony Pictures Entertainment that leaked executive emails to the public and caused the destruction of more than two-thirds of the company's computer servers, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Historical cyber battles

Israel revealed it defended against Iran's attempt to disrupt its water supply using a cyberattack earlier this year. The struggle continued to target an Iranian port command-and-control system in Bandar Abbas, said a foreign security official. The incident caused several dozens of cargo ships to stockpile in the harbor.

American and British officials monitoring the group said that while their track record is mixed, North Korea has a growing army of more than 6,000 hackers and is growing to become even more sophisticated and fortified over the years.

Last April, a report stated that officials at the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are accusing North Korea of continually using digital mediums to avoid sanctions by other countries in an attempt to supply funds for its nuclear weapons program.

The document also accused the North Korean government of renting out its hackers to other cybercriminal groups and countries in what experts call "hacking for hire."

According to Times of Israel, Iran and Israel have, for years, been engaged in covert battles including highly-advanced technological hacking and cyberattacks. One of the most known of these attacks is known as Stuxnet, a computer worm that Israel unleashed to disrupt Iran's nuclear program.

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