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Israel warns hackers not to retaliate for credit card attacks

After thousands of credit card details are posted online, the Israeli government says retaliation should be left to legitimate state authorities.

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Israeli authorities are trying to prevent a tit-for-tat war between pro- and anti-Israeli hackers from escalating any further. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel said today that computer hackers should not retaliate for attacks on Israeli credit card companies which have seen cardholder data posted to the the Internet, Reuters reported.

The official statement came as a hacker claiming to be in Saudi Arabia who had already posted thousands of Israeli cardholders' details online said he had posted another 200 more overnight and threatened to post a similar number every day, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The putatively Saudi attack was one of the worst ever faced in Israel.

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In a statement carried by Reuters, Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, said the Israeli government called on all citizens to abide by the law: "Just as the Israeli government has found answers for terrorism, we will find answers to this challenge...we call on Israeli citizens not to...act as vigilantes."

One Israeli hacker has already claimed to have carried out a reprisal attack on Saudi credit cardholders but this could not immediately be verified, according to the news agency. Citing the newspaper Ha'aretz, Reuters said an Israeli blogger had tracked down the reportedly Saudi blogger, who calls himself 0xOmar, and identified the person as a 19-year-old Emirati studying and working in Mexico.

0xOmar claimed on Jan 3 to have posted 400,000 Israeli cardholder details online last week but Israeli credit card companies said only 25,000 numbers had been posted, some already expired.

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According to the website ynetnews, the Israeli blogger Phadida reports that:

the hacker's full name is Omar Habib. He was born in the United Arab Emirates, but currently lives in the Mexican city of Pachuca. Habib, 19, works in a café called Euphoria Lounge and studies computer science at the university of Centro Hidalguense de Estudios Superiores Cenhies.

According to Reuters, the work of 0xOmar has gained the approval of the military organization Hamas, describing them as "a new form of resistance."

"We urge Arab youth to ignore these cowardly Israeli threats and to use all means available in the virtual space to confront Israeli crimes," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying in Gaza on Sunday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120112/israel-warns-hackers-not-retaliate-cre