JERUSALEM – Even as Mossad agents and a team of IDF cyber-warfare specialists began an intensive global hunt for “Ox Omar,” the alleged Saudi hacker who exposed the financial records of thousands of Israeli credit-card holders, the defiant cyber-terrorist launched a second wave of “virtual jihad” attacks on a number of Israeli websites including some government sites and those of El Al and several Israeli banks.
He also threatened to unleash his legion of pro-Palestinian hackers known as the “Nightmare Group” on Israel in order to “destroy” the Jewish state.
After Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said “Ox Omar” should be classified as an international terrorist and either arrested or eliminated by Israeli security services, Ox Omar taunted Ayalon.
“I want to harm Israel in any way possible,” he said during a web chat with a reporter from Ynet, Yediot Aharonot’s Internet news site. “No one will arrest me because it will be impossible to find me.”
Though Ox Omar managed to temporarily knock El Al, Discount Bank of Israel and First International Bank off the Internet and thousands of frustrated customers were unable to conduct business on those sites for nearly hours, the government websites were able to withstand the attack and remained operational.
Israel is one of the few countries in the world with a technological capacity to shut out incoming cyber entries on its websites from abroad if a government agency or commercial enterprise ascertains a threat. Some major Israeli banks have begun to implement these defensive measures in the wake of the Ox Omar attacks.
Nevertheless, Israeli hi-tech entrepreneurs whose companies have sold advanced cyber security software and hardware to hundreds of companies abroad were highly critical of both the government and local commercial enterprises for endangering consumers and the nation at large.
“How is it that Israel, a nation that promotes itself as being among the elite when it comes to developing hi-tech security, doesn’t invest in purchasing its own locally made technology to defend the public against invasive attacks?” a Jerusalem-based hi-tech executive told Channel 10 News earlier this week.
Israeli newspapers reported that a group of Israeli hackers responded to Ox Omar’s attacks with retaliatory cyber strikes on thousands of Facebook pages emanating from a variety of Arab nations across the Middle East.