The Middle East Channel

Cyber attacks target Israeli airline and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Cyber attacks target Israeli airline and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Cyber attacks target Israeli airline and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

A wave of cyber attacks disrupted Israeli online systems on Monday, hitting Israel’s national airline, El Al, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), and three banks. The attacks came days after an unidentified pro-Palestinian hacker released personal information and credit card details of thousands of Israelis. The attacks brought down the El Al and TASE websites, but did not disturb any vital services, with stock trading and flights operating as normal. According to Danny Dolev, a computer science professor at Hebrew University, these were merely surface level attacks targeting “websites that present information to the public, but happily it didn’t touch the internal information systems.” However the attacks raised serious concerns for a country deeply dependent on technology, particularly for security infrastructure. The Saudi Arabian hacker “0xOmar” wrote an email to Ynetnews saying he teamed up with the pro-Palestinian group “Nightmare” who claimed responsibility for the attacks. He demanded an apology from Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon for “threatening me to death,” and warned that the attacks would only get more fierce. He stated, “I want to hurt/harm Israel in any way possible.”


Daily Snapshot

An Egyptian protester with his his hands chained chants slogans as another holds hanging effigies representing ousted president Hosni Mubarak, his sons Alaa and Gamal and former interior minister Habib al-Adli and others from his regime outside the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo on January 17, 2012 during Mubarak’s trial. Mubarak’s main lawyer challenged prosecution calls for Egypt’s former president to be hanged for the deaths of protesters, saying there is no evidence to show he ordered security forces to open fire (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

‘Preventing a nuclear Iran, peacefully’ (Shibley Telhami and Stephen Kull, New York Times)

“Given that Israelis overwhelmingly believe that Iran is on its way to acquiring nuclear weapons and several security experts have begun to question current policy, there is now an opportunity for a genuine debate on the real choices: relying on cold-war-style “mutual assured destruction” once Iran develops nuclear weapons or pursuing a path toward a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East, with a chance that Iran — and Arabs — will never develop the bomb at all. There should be no illusions that successfully negotiating a path toward regional nuclear disarmament will be easy. But the mere conversation could transform a debate that at present is stuck between two undesirable options: an Iranian bomb or war.”

‘Saving face and peace in the Gulf’ (Anne-Marie Slaughter, European Voice)

“It is time for cooler heads to prevail with a strategy that helps Iran step back. The key players here are Brazil and Turkey, whose governments negotiated an ill-timed deal with Iran in May 2011, whereby Iran would transfer 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 1,200 kilograms of medium-enriched uranium for medical research at a Tehran reactor. That deal quickly fell apart, but it could be time to try again.”

‘What if the Iranians start killing scientists’ (Avner Cohen, Haaretz)

“Israel may have rejoiced at the news of the hit, but let’s consider how senior members of Israel’s scientific community, especially the nuclear scientists, would view the assassination of scientists on the faculties of well-known academic institutions…They would probably have reservations about the wisdom of expanding the shadow war to the scientific community. Anyone who legitimizes the assassination of scientists in Tehran jeopardizes the personal security of scientists on the other side. The next phase of the assassination war is liable to turn international scientific conferences into arenas of assassination. It is entirely possible that the damage caused by the assassinations far outweigh the benefits they bring.”

‘A short critique of revolutionary comrades’ (Samer Soliman, Ahram online)

“If SCAF does not hand over power to either parliament or the new cabinet or the next president, and if the people find out that elected institutions took over power but their performance is below expectations, this is when they can call for the overthrow of the head of the regime. Before that point, however, battling, protesting and going on strike should target partial victories and specific demands — not the toppling of the head of the regime.” 

Latest on the Channel

‘False flag’ by Mark Perry

‘Violence and the Egytpian military’ by H.A. Hellyer

‘Arabs in the shadow of their neighbors’ by Hishem Melhem