"There is no reason for customers to panic, the situation has been contained" major Israeli credit card companies said Tuesday, in an effort to reassure thousands of account holders whose details were exposed on Monday.
Saudi hackers claimed to have leaked credit card and personal information of over 400,000 Israelis. The hackers called the cyber attack a "gift to the world for the new year," which they hoped "would hurt the Zionist pocket." The file was removed shortly after being posted.
Israeli credit card companies Isracard, Leumi Card and Visa CAL tried to reassure their customers, saying that only 15 000 account have actually been exposed and that the situation has been contained in full.
All three companies are said to be making every effort to contact card holders in order to replace their cards.
"We blocked all of the cards whose numbers were on the list to online use. They can still be used for regular purchases," Isracard CEO Dov Kotler told Ynet.
Isracard, he added, will replace about 6,600 credit cards: "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," Kotler said.
Visa CAL CEO Israel David told Ynet less that 3,000 CAL accounts were compromised: "We know which customers were compromised and we've blocked their cards for online or phone purchases. They can still use the cards for regular purchases and as ATM cards."
David too stressed that Visa CAL customers "have nothing to worry about. There is no reason to panic. The customers are in no danger." CAL, he added, will issue new cards to the clients compromised.
Gilad Katz, CEO of Leumi Card, confirmed that 4,000 accounts have been compromised: "We will be replacing all of the compromised credit cards and no one will suffer any damage. We've restricted the cards' online activity. The public doesn’t have to do anything – we are doing all the work."
It is still unclear how the information was compromised. "There's no question that website security in Israel has to improve," Kotler said. "The newer websites pose less of a problem, because their security protocols are higher – it's the older websites that have outdated security."
The Bank of Israel stated that it was aware of the fact that credit card information had been hacked, adding that "(…) Customers will not be held accountable for misuse of the cards as result of the exposure of the details in compliance with the legal provisions of the Charge Cards Act.
"In any case, the bank recommends that clients examine their credit card statements or the credit card company's website in order to locate any questionable transactions and that they contact the credit card companies over any problems as soon as possible."
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