Fischer incensed at website security breakdown

Internal checks revealed weak points, but they were not corrected.

Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer was taken by surprise by the hacking of the bank's website last week, and in a moment of anger announced that he would fire those responsible. The central bank notified the bank's advisory committee about the embarrassing incident and has also filed a complaint with Interpol. Israeli IT security experts have also been brought in.

Radical Islamic hackers using an Algerian server broke into the Bank of Israel's website for the public on the night of last Thursday-Friday. The website only came back on line on Monday. However, the hackers launched a new attack immediately afterwards, forcing the website back off the air for a few minutes. Although operating, the Bank of Israel's website is now less user-friendly than before.

It has since been learned that the IT security procedures for the Bank of Israel's internal systems are guided by the Israel Security Agency, and that these procedures were also supposed to apply to the central bank's website. Internal examinations revealed flaws and breakdowns, but they were not corrected. Staff from the Ministry of Finance's Governmental Infrastructure for the Internet Era (Project TEHILA) also warned the Bank of Israel that its website could be hacked.

There is total separation between the Bank of Israel's website and its internal computer systems, including its banking data system. A senior Bank of Israel official confirmed that the results of the internal tests were not good. Internal test reports also stated that there were flaws, and a new characterization is now needed.

Algor Ltd. manages the Bank of Israel's website. Bank of Israel spokesman Yossi Saadon confirmed, "The company won a tender that we held. The matter is now under review. Except for three or four people, most Bank of Israel officials were unaware of the contract." The Bank of Israel has also issued a statement denying that Fischer threatened to fire those responsible for the breach of security.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 30, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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