In a twist that could occur only in the Middle East, where one man's sins are visited upon his entire tribe, Israeli hackers are reportedly planning to reveal the credit-card numbers and personal details of thousands of Saudi Arabian citizens in retaliation for a Saudi hacker's posting of Israeli credit-card numbers last week.
The digital eye-for-an-eye was disclosed on the English-language section of Ynet, the online version of the Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth.
"If the [Saudi] leaks continue, we will cause severe damage to the privacy of Saudi citizens," one unnamed Israeli hacker told Ynet.
Last week, a list of thousands of Israeli credit-card numbers was posted online by someone claiming to speak for a Saudi hacker group called "Group XP." Since then, a single hacker calling himself "0XOmar" has spoken for the group, released more numbers and hinted that he's doing all this by himself.
The data breach has become a media sensation in Israel, where claims and counter-claims have flown about 0xOmar's identity and whether he lives in the Middle East or in Mexico.
Israel's deputy foreign minister, a member of the hard-line political party Yisrael Beiteinu, called the breach a "terrorist" act and warned that the perpetrators would "not benefit from any immunity against reprisal actions from Israel.”
0xOmar told the gossip blog Gawker that he hacked into "at least 80 Israeli shopping sites," and that it "took me about 6 months to find targets and hack them."
His Israeli counterparts now claim to have done the same thing, hacking into the databases of Saudi shopping sites and compiling lists of credit-card numbers and personal details of registered users.
"We're holding on to the information and waiting for the right moment to publish it," they told Ynet.
Using a sample of the list provided by the Israeli hackers, Ynet said it matched some individual details to the Facebook pages of Saudi citizens. It even called one man, using the phone number provided, who confirmed his name before hanging up.