Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Internet hackers used local computer systems in attacks on Israeli corporate websites, according to the chief executive officer of network-security vendor Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
“About half of the attacking systems were from Israel,” Gil Shwed said at a press conference in Tel Aviv. This was possible through the use of malicious bot software, which is planted on a computer and then activated, he said.
Websites operated by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd., and First International Bank Ltd. were attacked yesterday but not immobilized. The attacks have led to calls for the government to accelerate the establishment of a National Cyber Directorate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in August.
Israel, home to the largest number of technology startups per capita in the world, has given grants to nurture companies dealing with computer security and is recognized internationally for its expertise. Check Point plans to release a new product in the first quarter of this year that will fight bot software and “significantly lower their ability to attack,” Schwed said.
Check Point, whose customers include Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and Dell Inc., today said fourth-quarter net income rose to $159.8 million from $137.4 million a year earlier, bringing annual earnings to a record high.
“As cyber attacks and security risks reach new levels of sophistication, customer expectations for their security infrastructure also increase,” Shwed said.
The Palestinian Hamas movement called this week for an escalation of Internet hacking against Israel, declaring an electronic war against the Jewish state. A group referring to itself as the Gaza Hacker team attacked websites last week belonging to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, and Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union.
--With assistance from Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv. Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Tom Lavell.
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