Plea to Israel not to over-react to credit card hacking incident

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

8 January 2012

We reproduce below an item published on the BBC website yesterday Saturday 7 January 2012. We then add comment by Antigone1984.



‘Israel has said it will respond to cyber-attacks in the same way it responds to violent “terrorist” acts after the credit card details of thousands of its citizens were published online.


‘A hacker named OxOmar claiming to be Saudi said on Thursday [5 January 2012] he had leaked the private information.


‘Credit card companies say at least 6,000 valid cards have been exposed.


‘Reports say OxOmar may be a 19-year-old living in Mexico.


‘Such cyber-attacks are “a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such”, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has said.


‘”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 added, without giving further details.


‘An aide to Mr Ayalon said Israel was aware of the report OxOmar may be in Mexico, but had not yet requested help from the Mexican authorities, Reuters news agency reports.’

Comment by Antigone1984:

1. Many aspects of this report are vague and we believe it needs to be confirmed in detail before any definitive assessment can be made.

2. If the report turns out to be correct, then it depicts an extremely disturbing state of affairs.

3. The publicising of  private credit card details is wholly unacceptable and is likely to cause considerable worry and problems for the victims.

4. It is only natural that the Israeli authorities should want to take steps to find the culprit.

5. However, to treat the unauthorised publication of credit card details as “comparable to a terrorist operation” is way over the top. The comparison, we believe, is ludicrous.

6. Moreover, the following remarks attributed to Israeli deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon send a chill down the spine: “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.” We cannot know what precisely Israel intends to do, but, given its history of bellicose reaction to provocation, one interpretation of Mr Ayalon’s remarks is surely that Israel is proposing to take out, ie assassinate, the hacker.

7. If that interpretation is valid, then, in our view, this would be a gross over-reaction. The standard way to deal with suspects in a democratic society is to take steps to ensure that they are brought before a court of law to answer for their actions.

8. We do not believe that any court of law, anywhere in the world, hopefully including Israel, would find that the unauthorized publication of private credit cards falls into the same category as terrorism.

9. We sincerely hope that Israel thinks twice before over-reacting to an incident which deserves a measured response. Its initial gut reaction of outrage should be tempered by wiser counsels. Let us hope that this is what happens. Shalom.


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