Massive Credit Card Hack Hits Israel

Dennis Faas's picture

Israelis have recently been hit with one of the largest credit card hacks in recent memory. An estimated 20,000 people in that Mid-East nation have found their financial information exposed to web users by an unknown hacker claiming to be from Saudi Arabia.

Israeli authorities believe the attack, which officials first detected on Tuesday (January 3, 2012), qualifies as cyber-terrorism. Other experts, however, believe it's too early in the hacking cycle to determine exactly what motivated the attack or who, precisely, may have been behind it. (Source:

Exposed Credit Card Accounts Locked Down

At first, reports on the attack suggested that confidential data on as many as 400,000 Israeli credit card users had been compromised. Shortly thereafter, officials learned that many of the credit card numbers posted to the web were duplicates, some being repeated many times.

More recent reports put the actual number of hacked credit card accounts between 15,000 and 20,000, while other reports claim that only about 6,000 of those compromised accounts were actually open and in active use.

The credit card companies targeted in this attack say they have already locked down all of the leaked accounts, and they promise that any fraudulent purchases made as a result of the hack would be declared null and void, with the legitimate user's credit line fully restored.

Reports Suggest Hacker is 19-Year-Old Saudi

This case is drawing a lot of media and government attention.

One reason is that the hacker who claims responsibility for the attack goes by the Internet code-name 0xOmar. Another is that he says he's just nineteen years old and a native of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. That said, credibility and accuracy of this information remains highly questionable.

The credit card firms affected by the attack have asked the Israeli government for help in finding the hacker, bringing him or her to justice, and preventing future attacks of this kind from succeeding.

Thus far, it appears the Israeli government is willing and ready to do just that: the country's deputy foreign minister called the attack "a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation," and said it should be treated as such. (Source:

"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," the deputy foreign minister added.

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