Israeli credit cards hit by cyber attack


ALLEGED SAUDI hackers have posted the details of 15,000 Israeli credit cards online in the biggest politically motivated cyberspace attack against Israel to date.

Israel’s three biggest credit card companies urged clients not to panic and promised that any victims of identity theft would be fully compensated and that replacement cards would be issued immediately. The anonymous hackers, claiming to be from Saudi Arabia, called the cyber attack “a gift to the world for the new year”. They posted information including credit card details, personal addresses, names, phone numbers and ID numbers of individuals on a popular Israeli sports website, urging surfers to use the information to make purchases.

“It will be so fun to see 400,000 Israelis stand in line outside banks and offices of credit card companies to complain that their cards had been stolen. To see banks shred 400,000 cards and reissue them. To see that Israeli cards are not accepted around the world,” the hackers wrote.

Bank of Israel officials said the figure of 400,000 was inaccurate and fewer than 15,000 card holders were affected. The bank has launched an investigation, in co-operation with Israel’s three major credit companies.

Pro-Palestinian hackers often target Israel but an attack on this scale was unprecedented.

Experts in cyber security said it was impossible to verify that the hackers originated in Saudi Arabia, but they said the attack was further proof that it was increasingly difficult to prevent determined hackers.

The Israeli military and top strategic facilities are advised by the Israel Security Agency on protection from cyber attack.

A few weeks ago, the websites of Israeli intelligence branches crashed but officials denied pro-Palestinian hackers were responsible, blaming a technical fault.