Cyber retaliation by Israeli hackers.
From today's FT, FYI,
January 17, 2012 8:20 pm
Hackers attack Arab stock markets
By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem
Israeli hackers claim to have opened a new front in the escalating cyber war with their Arab rivals, by launching an attack on the websites of stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
The attack, carried out by a group calling itself IDF Team, came in reply to a similar hacking assault on Monday that targeted the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and of El Al, the Israeli national airline. Several Israeli bank websites were also affected.
The temporary shutdown of the two Israeli sites was claimed by a pro-Palestinian group by the name of Nightmare, which claims affiliation with 0xOmar, the Saudi-based hacker who started the cyber-standoff by posting online the credit details of thousands of Israelis earlier this month.
The name “IDF Team” refers to the acronym for the Israel Defence Forces, the Israeli army. The attack came just a week after another Israeli hacker, Hannibal, posted personal information about thousands of Saudi Facebook users online: this time in response to the credit card hack by 0xOmar.
In an internet posting on Tuesday, the Israeli hackers declared: “If the lame attacks from Saudi Arabia will continue, we will move to the next level which will disable these sites longer term [and] may come to weeks or even months. You have been warned.”
It was not immediately clear how effective the Israeli attack was. Users trying to access the website of Tadawul, the Saudi stock market, late on Tuesday were told the page could not load. The website of ADX, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, was still accessible, though it appeared to take longer than normal to load.
Although they caused only minor disruption, the cyber attacks on El Al and the Tel Aviv stock exchange have raised questions about Israel’s ability to defend itself against a new and damaging form of virtual political protest.
Hackers on both sides have left little doubt that their actions are politically motivated. In an email exchange with Yedioth Ahronoth, the Israeli newspaper, 0xOmar said that he wanted to damage Israel “financially and socially”.
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s foreign minister, declared this month that Israel regarded hacking attack as “comparable to terrorism”, and vowed to respond forcefully.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012.