Photo: Index Open
The Northern District Fraud Division of the Israeli Police exposed Tuesday a cell of Arab Hackers, led by an Israeli-Arab youth, which engaged in cyber terrorism affecting various political and financial bodies within the State of Israel.
Among those sites affected by the hackers were various commercial sites, political party websites (the Likud website specifically), as well as sports sites (such as the internet forum for fans of the Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball team). Police officials indicated that the hackers also effected considerable financial losses, although their exact extent is difficult to gauge.
The hacker ‘cell’ included hackers from Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, and was led by a 17-year-old Israeli Arab youth who used his home computer to commit these ‘cyber-offenses’.
Head of the Computers Team at the Northern District Fraud Unit, Tzachi Segal, said Tuesday that: “The head of the team has been captured, after months of diligent investigation. During our investigation we learned all we could about this hacker, including his hours of operation, and simply set up a ‘honey trap’ for him to slip into.”
Police sources stated that two formal complaints have been lodged in this case, though many website owners are still unaware that they were victims of this hacking cell.
Drowning the evidenceDuring their prolonged investigation of this hacking cell, police detectives came to realize that the Arab hackers were aided by an Israeli accomplice. This Arab Israeli youth, who headed this cyber-terrorism team, was arrested at his home Monday.
The arrest did not go smoothly, police sources indicated. The hackers’ mother attempted to distract police officers and hold their attention while her son attempted to sneak his incriminating computer into the bathroom. Ultimately, however, the hacker was arrested and the offending computer confiscated.
Police officials stated that the youth denied the charges leveled against him, but preliminary data from his computer undoubtedly implicate him in this matter.
Police and Shin Bet officials are currently investigating whether or not additional Israeli accomplices aided the computer-savvy teen.
The suspect in this case was arraigned at the Haifa District Court Tuesday morning.