UPDATED 12:25 EDT / JANUARY 04 2012


Saudi Hackers Pilfer, Leak 400,000 Israeli Credit Card Accounts

Hackers are ringing in the new year with a lot of interesting declarations of financial cybermayhem—yesterday SiliconANGLE reported on 100 million Chinese usernames leaked—but today’s 400,000 records leak from Israel includes credit card information. A group of Saudi hackers hit several Israel-based web sites over the holiday and dumped the resulting information onto the Internet revealing the numbers of numerous customers.

Channel 10 in Israel first reported the hack saying that the details published include names, e-mail addresses, and credit card numbers as well as 3-digit security codes. Everything needed to use the card information to make purchases.

The credit card companies in question have been quick to quell any fears of their customers stating that there is no need to panic.

Coming forward with press releases two of the issuing firms in Israel, Isracard and Visa CAL, have had spokespeople reveal that only about 18,000 of the leaked cards were still valid at the time. The rest had been long since expired.

“We blocked all of the cards whose numbers were on the list to online use. They can still be used for regular purchases,” Isracard’s CEO said in a statement to local media, repeated on SecurityWeek in an article about the incident.

“First of all, we have to keep this proportionate. We have to differentiate between threats made by Saudi hackers and the facts. We’ve been working through the night and we discovered that contrary to reports, between all the credit card companies in Israel only 14,000 accounts or so have been compromised. That’s about 0.2% of all active accounts in Israel. We will, of course, compensate customers who were compromised – as we routinely do. I’m responsible for my customers. Anyone who suffered damage will be compensated. There is nothing to worry about.”

To date, there have been no reports of the stolen credit cards being used. Of the 14,000 stolen card numbers, about 6,600 had been issued by Visa CAL. Visa CAL’s CEO also added to the statements that of the non-expired cards, all of them have been blocked from telephone and Internet transactions while the company reissues cards to affected customers.

Of the websites that the hackers infiltrated and stole the credit card information from were an Israeli sports information website and a local television station, according to published reports in the local news. Visitors to One, the Israeli sports site, on Monday evening found themselves redirected to a site where the hackers claimed that they would use the

“We decided to give a new year’s gift to the world: the information of about 400,000 Israelis,” the hackers wrote.

The added, “What fun it is for us to see 400,000 people gathered in front of credit card companies and banks and complaining that their credit card information has been stolen. To see Israeli banks destroying 400,000 credit cards and producing new ones (so expensive, huh?). To see people buying things for themselves using the credit cards and damaging the credibility of Israeli credit cards around the world.”

The data file has quickly vanished from the Internet after it became highly visible and One fixed the redirect in short order after they discovered it. Previous hackers who took leaks to a new level would place the pilfered files onto a bittorrent and post the information on Pastebin; apparently these Saudi Arabian hackers didn’t feel the need to even anonymously host a torrent so the file may not be as available as those leaks from AntiSec and LulzSec in the past.

Currently, the Bank of Israel has launched investigations  into the hack in cooperation with three major Israeli credit card issuers, including Iscacard and Visa CAL.

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