Israel warns of new Middle East battleground

Dan Meridor

Dan Meridor

Israel's Intelligence Minister has called for a truce in the burgeoning cyber war between Israeli and Arab hackers.

Dan Meridor said that "individual initiatives by Israeli hackers to attack Saudi hackers, or hackers from anywhere else for that matter, are ineffective".

He said they should not be done "in Israel's name", adding that there was no evidence yet that the hackers were, as they claimed, from Saudi Arabia.

His comments came after weeks of cyber attacks, which began on January 3 when "Saudi" hackers claimed they had compromised the credit card details of 400,000 Israelis. Last week an Israeli hacker responded by apparently disclosing online personal information of hundreds of Saudis, Egyptians and Syrians, including bank details but also email addresses and telephone numbers.

Since then, hackers claiming to be from various anti-Israel organisations have attacked the websites of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the El Al airline, and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The sites were not shut down completely and trading on the stock exchange was not affected but access was slow.

Mr Meridor also spoke of the new battlefield. "It is not limited by borders, it is fought behind the scenes," he said. "You can't see it and blood isn't spilled, but there is a battle in new and developing worlds."

Last updated: 10:34am, January 18 2012