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A 32-year-old suspect has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to extort Bank Yahav for Government Employees Ltd. following a lengthy investigation by the Lahav 433 national fraud squad in cooperation with the National Cyber Defense Authority.

The suspect had allegedly threatened the bank he would reveal customer details unless bank management and other companies paid him more than NIS 1 million in bitcoin, a virtual alternative global currency.

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The suspect is a former employee of a company that provides services to government ministries and banks, including Bank Yahav. He allegedly accessed databases belonging to the bank that contained information about the customers, and in late July 2017 demanded a ransom in return for not publishing the details, or selling them to someone else.

“The bank recently received an announcement from an email marketing messages services provider that its database had been broken into,” said Bank Yahav in a statement quoted by Globes.

“This is an external company that does not have any financial information whatsoever about the bank’s customers. Following this event, the bank was also contacted by an anonymous party, after which the bank gave all the necessary information to Israel Police, the National Cyber Defense Bureau, and the Bank of Israel.

“The bank is taking stringent information security measures for its databases, and discovered no break-in involving them. Further examinations were also conducted by the National Cyber Defense Authority, which also found that the bank’s systems were inviolate, and that no information had leaked.

“We thank Israel Police for their professional actions, determination, and speed, and the National Cyber Defense Authority and the Bank of Israel for their full cooperation and involvement in the measures.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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