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Israeli Stock Exchange And Banks Hit By Hackers

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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The online cyber war against Israel continues, with the stock exchange, banks and the national airline the latest victims

Israeli institutions continue to find themselves under attack from hackers, as the online cyber campaign against that country continues.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Airlines and three banks on Monday all suffered disrupted online access, said Reuters.

It quoted the government as saying there was a cyber-offensive against Israel.

Cyber-Offensive

Stock trading and El Al flights apparently operated normally despite the disruption. The website of the Tel Aviv stock exchange could only be accessed intermittently, but it seems that screen-based trading was not hit.

“There has been an attack by hackers on the access routes to the website,” Orna Goren, deputy manager of the exchange’s marketing and communications unit was quoted as saying by Reuters. “The stock exchange’s trading activities are operating normally.”

Meanwhile the First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) and two subsidiary banks, namely Massad and Otzar Hahayal, apparently had their marketing sites hacked but. However client-facing websites were said to be unaffected.

Israel’s third-largest bank, Discount, apparently was not attacked but according to Reuters it temporarily shutting down foreign access to its website as a precaution.

Israeli Attacks

Earlier this month the Saudi Arabian hacking group, Group-XP, published the credit card details of 15,000 Israelis gathered from various Israeli websites, apparently in reaction to Israel’s relationship with Palestine.

“We decided to give the world a gift for New Year’s – the personal information of 400 thousand Israelis,” said the hackers in the statement, adding that it would be 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, like the Nigerian cards”.

Days later the Israeli government promised to retaliate against that cyber-attack.

“Israel has active capabilities for striking at those who are trying to harm it, and no agency or hacker will be immune from retaliatory action,” said Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, in a statement.

Fight Back

And it seems that the Israeli fightback has already begun after the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli hackers had brought down the official websites of Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Agency and Abu Dhabi’s Securities Exchange on Tuesday.

It said that both official websites did appear to be offline. Indeed, Techweek Europe was unable to connect to the Saudi Arabian website as of 6pm GMT Tuesday, but was able to connect to the Abu Dhabi website.

The Jerusalem Post identified the Israeli hackers as members of the Israel Defenders internet group.

The Israeli hackers were reported to have said in a forum message that their actions came “because lame hackers from Saudi Arabia decided to launch an attack against Israeli sites” (pointing to the attacks on the stock exchange, airline and banks).

The hackers apparently warned that “this is only the beginning,” adding that “there may be disruption to the [Saudi] government’s stock exchange site” as well.

Last week the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed the top five risks facing world leaders today, and found that cyber-attacks are now among the top five risks to global stability.