Israeli authorities are investigating a cyber attack Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon described as being akin to a “terrorist operation.”
The declaration by Ayalon comes after a hacker named “0xOmar” leaked the details of thousands of credit card numbers belonging to Israelis onto the Internet this week. The hacker claims to be affiliated with Group-xp, a known Saudi Arabian hacking group.
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Though the hacker claimed to have published information about 400,000 Israelis, the Bank of Israel’s Banking Supervision Department said in a statement Jan. 3 that about 15,000 active accounts had been exposed. On Jan. 5, a second list of roughly 11,000 credit card numbers was posted online. However, credit card companies reported that only about 6,000 of those accounts were active.
The stolen information came from multiple Israeli sites. In response to the situation, Ayalon said the attack is “a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such.”
“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,” he told BBC.
Yoram Hacohen, the head of Israel’s data protection agency, told the Associated Press Friday his agency is investigating the case and was weighing asking Interpol for help.
According to The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli blogger has claimed to have identified the man responsible for the attack and traced his location to Mexico. 0xOmar however denies that he has been unmasked.