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Cyber Attacks Crash the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Websites

A day after Hamas calls for fiercer hacking attempts against Israel, a hacking network shuts down TLSE and El Al websites
By: David Shear
Published: January 16th, 2012 in Business » Israel

In what appears to be an escalation of a cyber-war that began last week when Israeli credit-card holders’ information was hacked and posted on an Israeli website, hackers have now attacked websites belonging to both the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Israel Airlines Ltd.

A pro-Palestinian computer hacker group calling itself “Nightmare” took responsibility for Monday’s attack.

"They have demanded an apology for Israel's defensive measures," Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, posted on his Facebook page. "I am using this platform to send a clear message that ... they will not silence us on the internet, or in any forum."

Both groups affected by a the attack saw only a slowdown in their respective websites’ activity, while trading on the Tel Aviv stock exchange was not affected.

Nightmare warned of its planned attacks against the two website via an e-mail sent Sunday night Ynet news, which had reported on its own site that the message was sent by a Arabian hacker, presumably the same party who has been hacking – and posting – the Israeli credit card information.

“No system is perfect,” Ron Porat, chief executive officer of Hacktics Ltd., told Israeli Army Radio. “My entire life has been spent finding holes in systems and fixing them,” said Porat.

Hamas announced on Sunday that they planned to escalate Internet hacking against Israel, declaring a cyber war.

This summer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu created a National Cyber Directorate in August to take security measures against hacking of his 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, told Army Radio. “You can’t see it and blood isn’t spilled, but there is a battle in new and developing worlds.”

Cyber warfare has become increasingly more worriesome over the past year, and much more political, often linked to governments. The Stuxnet virus, a worm which attacked and crippled Iran's nuclear program, was linked to Israel and the United States. An apparent attempt at data theft from the International Monetary Fund has been blamed on China.

Recently, a new report by the World Economic Forum has ranked cyber attacks on government and businesses fourth on the list of top five global risks in the world.

El Al has issued the following statement following the attacks:

"El Al is aware that for the past two weeks a cyber war is raging against Israel. The company closely monitors the Saudi hacker activity. Also, we take precautions on the activity of the company's website. As a result there may be disruptions in the activity of the site"

Related articles: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al, Hackers, Cyber Attack, Group-XP, Nightmare Group
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