Israeli threat prompts Saudi banks to act

Jan. 9, 2012 at 10:04 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Banks in Saudi Arabia began implementing tight security measures after Israel threatened to retaliate against a credit card attack by a Saudi hacker.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon compared the hacking -- which exposed credit card information of thousands of Israeli card-holders -- to a terrorist operation and vowed that no Saudi entity would be exempt from any retaliation by Israel, al-Arabiya reported Monday.

Because of Ayalon's comments, several Saudi banks began to increase security on their transactions and stepped up monitoring of their Web sites Saturday, officials told the Arabic-language news network.

In an e-mail to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the hacker denied reports that his name was OxOmar and he was from the United Arab Emirates and lives in Mexico. He said his name is Omar and he lives in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Omar said his goal was to hurt Israel financially and socially as a response to its occupation of disputed territories.

Omar published lists of 29,000 credit cards that contained personal card-holder information. Al-Arabiya said Omar vowed to publish details of another 80,000 cards in response to Israeli claims that only 14,000 cards had been hacked.

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