A few days ago I read an interview with a teenager who was reported to have stolen “Israeli credit cards”.
I know what a American Express credit card is. I know what a MasterCard credit card is. I have never heard of an American credit card or an Israeli credit card. I’m betting that Amex and MasterCard are both multinational corporations. But I will leave that distinction alone.
The interviewer and the teenager both misidentify the activity as hacking, it is cracking. But I will leave that alone too.
Credit card companies (nationality unspecified) claim he only got 15,000 valid numbers. He says it is half a million, and additional documents from Israeli defense contractors and “the entire Israeli population database even dead people.” Apparently all parties involved agree that he broke into computer systems without permission and once there he stole information. The teenager claims to be a Saudi and he claims to have political motives for his actions. (This claim to be a Saudi may or may not be true. We do not actually know who the teenager is. We don’t know he is a teenager. Its not even clear why the interviewer thinks it is a male.)
I think the motive for theft is irrelevant. Theft is wrong.
But then today, I read that Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that cyber crimes like this are “a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such.” I don’t think that is even near to correct.
- Taking hostages and threatening to kill them is terrorism.
- Flying airplanes into the side of civilian buildings is terrorism.
- Blowing up bombs on city streets is terrorism.
Theft is a crime. Breaking the law. A sign of poor moral character. Theft is not terrorism.
What I really want to know is: If he really thinks that breaking into a computer is akin to terrorism, what does Danny Ayalon propose should be done about the people who created Stuxnet and targeted equipment for destruction at Natanz?