Israeli hackers quickly retaliated yesterday against Monday's online disruption of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Airlines' websites by launching a counterstrike, taking down the websites of the Saudi Stock Exchange and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.
Going by the name "IDF-Team," the Israeli hacking group reportedly paralyzed Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange site, and caused significant delays to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in a series of coordinated cyberattacks, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
In a statement posted to Pastebin, the IDF-Team (named after the country's military, the Israeli Defense Force) said its hack was payback for the unsuccessful attempt to take down El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
"If the lame attacks from Saudi Arabia will continue, we will move to the next level which will disable these sites longer term," IDF-Team wrote. That disruption "may come to weeks or even months. You have been warned."
A separate Pastebin post from the hackers listed Arrabbank.ae and sabb.com (Arab banking sites) as targets, along with dubai.ae, eida.gov.ae (the Emirates Identity Authority), airport.ae and saudiairlines.com.
The retaliatory cyberstrike was the latest move in an ongoing battle that began Jan. 3 when a Saudi hacker, 0xOmar, posted 15,000 Israelis' credit card numbers. An Israeli hacker responded, which drew the ire of Anonymous, the all-seeing hacking network. Anonymous stepped in on the Arabs' side and leaked login details for Israeli industrial-control systems.
On Monday (Jan. 16), Arab hackers struck again. Possibly led by 0xOmar and his new "Nightmare" crew, hackers launched denial-of-service attacks that disrupted Israel's TASE and El Al websites. While the sites were down, both the airline and the stock exchange continued operating normally, with no trades or flights affected.
With distinct political agendas and a captive audience, including government officials in both countries, this certainly will not be the final move for either side.