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17 January 2012, 10:36

Hackers cripple more Israeli web sites

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Network Globe icon On Monday, unknown hackers brought down further important Israeli web sites. Media outlets in Israel have reported that the site of Israel's stock exchange, as well as those of the national El Al airline and the First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), became temporarily unavailable. Yuli Edelstein, the Information and Diaspora Minister of Israel, called the hacker attacks a "serious threat to Israel's security", that could develop into an existential danger. He called on the Israeli government to counteract them by "all measures at its disposal to prevent these virtual dangers from turning into real threats and to prevent with all its force attacks against it and its institutions."

At the beginning of the year, international hackers published private information pertaining to thousands of Israeli credit cards. The Israeli deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, responded by threatening the hackers with countermeasures.

But, the hackers' identities remain unclear. A hacker calling himself 0xOmar had announced an attack such as the one carried out on Monday in the Israeli media. In Israel, 0xOmar is also called the "Saudi Hacker", but it is unclear whether he really does come from Saudi Arabia. The hacker, who also assumed responsibility for the previous attacks, said that he now has the support of a team called "Nightmare".

On Sunday, a spokesperson for Hamas, the political party that governs the Gaza Strip, had called for an escalation of the internet hacking against Israel. "Penetrating Israeli web sites means opening a new field of resistance and the beginning of an electronic war against Israeli occupation", said Sami Abu Zuhri.

Israel suffered a major computer incident only last November. After a total crash, the web sites of several government agencies and security organisations were unavailable for several hours. The international "Anonymous" hacker organisation had previously threatened to launch an attack on the Israeli government. However, Israeli authorities denied reports of a hacker attack at the time, saying that the incident was caused by a technical fault.


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