Last week, a hacker known as "0xOmar" (also being mistakenly reported as OxOmar by most news media) took credit for publishing an illicit bounty of 400,000 credit card numbers, a claim yet to be fully corroborated by news agencies. On Friday, Israeli officials condemned the action as a form of terrorism and made a provocative claim that no hostile actor is immune to the country's potential retaliation.
Such cyber-attacks are "a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a speech, adding that Israel had not yet ruled out the possibility that the hacking had been carried out by a group "more organized and sophisticated ... than a lone youth."
"Israel has active capabilities for striking at those who are trying to harm it, and no agency or hacker will be immune from retaliatory action," he said, without elaborating.
The hacker claims 400,000 stolen credit card numbers were leaked but accuses the "Jewish lobby" of down-playing the total. The individual also claims he has over one million social security numbers in his possession, according to this public statement hosted by Pastebay.com.
Reports have been mixed as different news agencies continue to report conflicting numbers about how many stolen credit card numbers were released. However, journalists have been reporting figures mostly around 15,000. The confusion may center around the fact that the overwhelming majority of the 400,000 numbers are said to be invalid card numbers.
Since the hacker's attack on "Zionist" credit cards, a number of journalistic outfits have conducted email-based interviews with 0xOmar. One blogger claims he has identified the hacker, a supposed 19 year-old citizen of the United Arab Emirates who currently lives in Mexico.
0xOmar, him or herself, claims to be a member of both Anonymous and an Israeli-based hacking group "Wahhabi".
Reuter's noted there does not appear to be any dialogue between the Israeli and Mexican governments as of yet, but Israel's strong rhetoric suggests they will be taking the matter very seriously.
The Bank of Israel says the financial institute will unconditionally protect all cardholders that had their credit card information stolen, in accordance with law. The Banking Supervision Department recommends cardholders look at their monthly statement carefully and report any unauthorized transactions.