In an effort to ease some of the cost of living burdens of the Israeli people by encouraging competitive pricing, the country`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a decision to improve the web-shopping options for all Israelis by increasing the amount they can spend purchasing goods from the internet and allowing them to be imported from abroad without needing to pay customs duties.
However, any Israeli enthusiasm to cyber spend is likely to be dampened given the latest attack by hackers. In a note published online via Pastebin that began, “Hi It`s 0xOmar from group-xp, largest Wahhabi hacker group of Saudi Arabia. We are anonymous Saudi Arabian hackers,” the hacker group went on to brag, “We decided to give the world a new year gift, about 400,000+ Israeli people information!!!”
It was discovered early Monday that Group-XP indeed posted the credit card numbers and other personal information of thousands of Israeli’s on a page accessible by a redirect that appeared onOne.co.il, an Israeli sports website.
According to the Israeli news source Ynet, many entries on the list are either out of date or incorrect and still others are listed multiple times. The Bank of Israel made an estimate that the actual total of cardholders affected is believed to be closer to 15,000 rather than 400,000. The bank also announced that all credit card companies concerned have gone ahead and blocked all cards involved cards and cardholders will not be held responsible for any fraudulent charges made to their account. The compromised cards will be replaced over the next few days.
It is speculated that the thieves mined databases of Israeli businesses that did not have sufficient safeguards in place to protect the information. Hackers frequently target Israeli websites – government sites included – for attacks which are often times politically motivated.
The end of the Pastebin note, to some extent, illuminated the motivations of the hackers:
“What`s fun for us?
– Watching 400,000 people gathered in front of Israeli credit card companies and banks, complaining about cards and that they are stolen
– Watching Israeli banks shredding 400,000 credit cards and re-generate new cards (so costly, huh?)
– Watching people purchasing stuff for theirself using the cards and making Israeli credit cards untrustable in the world, like Nigerian credit cards
– and much more…”
There are roughly seven million credit cards in circulation in Israel.