Hackers attacked the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
and El Al Israel Airlines, slowing down access after a pro-Palestinian computer
group calling itself ‘Nightmare’ warned of an imminent assault.
Both the stock exchange and El Al, Israel’s biggest carrier,
said today their websites had been affected by the attack, though not
immobilized. Stock trading was unaffected.
“What was hacked was our main website, which provides
information,” Idit Yaaron, a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange spokeswoman, said by
telephone. “The trading computer was not hacked and trading is going on as
Nightmare signalled its plan to attack the two corporate
websites in an email last night to the Ynet news service, which reported on its
own site that the message was sent by a person identifying himself as a Saudi
Arabian hacker. The same person has been exposing the numbers of thousands of
Israeli credit cards in recent weeks.
El Al issued a statement saying it was taking measures to
protect its website and warned there may be more disruptions.
Israel, home to the largest number of technology startups
per capita in the world, has given special grants to nurture companies dealing
with computer security and is recognized internationally for its expertise.
“No system is
perfect,” Ron Porat, chief executive officer of Hacktics, said on Israeli Army
Radio. “My entire life has been spent finding holes in systems” and fixing
them, said Porat, whose Israeli company was bought last year by the
international accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The Palestinian Hamas movement called yesterday for an
escalation of Internet hacking against Israel, declaring an electronic war
against Israel. A group referring to itself as the Gaza Hacker team attacked
websites last week belonging to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, and Deputy
Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
Hackers attacked First International Bank’s marketing site,
though no damage was caused to its online banking site, Dafna Zucker, a
spokeswoman, said by telephone. The marketing site was fixed within minutes,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a
National Cyber Directorate in August to guard against infiltration of the
country’s government and business computer systems.
“This battlefield is not limited by borders, it is fought
behind the scenes,” Dan Meridor, Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic
energy, said on Army Radio. “You can’t see it and blood isn’t spilled, but
there is a battle in new and developing worlds.”
Hamas, which controls Gaza, is considered a terrorist
organization by Israel, the US and the European Union.
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