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Cyber-Tension Escalates in the Middle East

The back and forth between Israel and a group of Saudi hackers escalated Monday as attacks and threats continue to mount.

The back and forth between Israel and a group of Saudi hackers escalated Monday as attacks and threats continue to mount.

According to reports, an attack on the Website for the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange slowed the site to a crawl but did not affect trading. In addition, El Al Israel Airlines took down its Website Monday after hacker 0xOmar, who has been linked to the Saudi hacking crew group-xp, warned that both it and the exchange site would be targeted by allied pro-Palestinian hackers, an anonymous source told the Associated Press.

Saudi Hackers Target IsraelThe El Al site is now up and appears to be functioning properly.

The situation is the latest twist in an attack campaign that began earlier this month when hackers claiming to be part of a known Saudi hacking crew known as group-xp claimed to have compromised 400,000 Israeli credit card accounts and posted some online. Israeli initially authorities counted 15,000 accounts exposed, but upped that number to 6,000 after the hackers made a second release later in the week.

The attacks and the subsequent taunting by 0xOmar – who posted the credit card details online – led Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon described as being akin to a “terrorist operation” and pledge that the hackers would be tracked down. An Israeli blogger soon claimed to have traced 0xOmar to Mexico, but the hacker denied he had been identified.

The situation escalated further last week when an Israeli hacker identifying himself as a soldier in an Israeli intelligence unit reportedly posted information online about hundreds of Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians and others in an apparent retaliation.

So far, there have been no confirmed reports of sensitive Israeli government sites being hacked.

“Right now, we’re not seeing anything that’s especially interesting or especially dangerous,” Gadi Evron, former head of Internet security for the Israeli government, told the Associated Press.

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