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      Eitan: Keep Israel's Internet Open Despite Hacker Attacks

      Likud Minister Eitan says Israel will keep its Internet open and safe despite attempts by hackers to penetrate its cyber-defenses.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 1/16/2012, 10:44 PM

      Likud Minister Michael Eitan says Israel will keep its Internet open and safe despite the attempts of hackers to penetrate its cyber-defenses.

      Hacker "OxOmar," known in Israel as the "Saudi hacker" struck Monday in a cyber attack on the El Al and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange websites. The hacker failed to hit the site on which investors trade stocks, and trading was not affected. However, the information sites for both El Al and the stock exchange were blocked in the attack.

      Eitan,  Minister of Improvement of Government Services, said Monday evening in response to the incident that there was no need to panic, adding that Israelis should not "lose their sense of perspective. This is not an attack on the critical infrastructure of Israel," the minister pointed out.

      "The real damage would be caused by a reaction that would stop the free flow of information on the Internet," Eitan said. "Just as we do not stop driving when there are car accidents, so too we cannot stop the use and development of the Internet when there are problems or [cyber] attacks," he said.

      The minister added that while hacker attacks at this point are still relatively "mild," cyber attacks on defense or other infrastructure computers would be much more serious. The government needs to ensure that the country's defense in these areas are first-rate, Eitan emphasized.

      Last week the Israel Defense website reported that a special cyber warfare administration is to be established by the Defense Ministry. The new administration will coordinate the efforts of security agencies and the defense industry in developing advanced systems to deal with cyber warfare, according to the report.

      Hackers broke into the Israel Fire and Rescue Services website last week and have exposed the credit card details of Israelis in a series of attacks over the past several weeks. The website of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was breached in a brief attack for about 30 minutes as well.