Hebrew word of the week: PatsHan = Hacker

The advent of the computer has contributed many new words to modern languages, or new meanings to old words. In Hebrew: maHshev “computer”; dafdefan “browser” (from daf “page,” difdef “turn pages, flip through”); metakhnet “programmer”; do’al  (or do’ar eleqTroni) for “email;” qovets “(computer) file”; ogdan “folder.”

In addition to these useful terms, the computer has also “fathered” some criminal or semi-criminal professions, such as hackers. Hebrew tries to distinguish between the patsHan “hacker, an enthusiastic computer user or programmer (who just hacks for fun)” (from p-ts-H “to crack, decode; burst,”* and partsan “hacker, one who uses unauthorized access to data” (from p-r-ts “to break in; porets “burglar”).**

*Compare: maftseaH egozim “nutcracker”; patsaH be-shir “burst into song.”

**Other languages, such as Spanish, use the English word hacker; so do many Israelis: haqer; plural haqerim.

Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA.

Palestinian hacker posts on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook wall

A Palestinian hacker posted a message on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s wall to show there is a bug in the social network’s security settings.

Khalil Shreateh of Hebron posted information about the bug on Zuckerberg’s wall late last week following unsuccessful attempts to report the bug to Facebook security. The bug allowed Shreateh to post on the walls of other members despite security settings.

“Sorry for breaking your privacy … I had no other choice … after all the reports I sent to Facebook team,” Shreateh wrote on Zuckerberg’s wall.

Facebook security had denied that the flaw was a bug.

Shreateh, who is unemployed, had hoped to win a $500 reward paid out to hackers who discover bugs on Facebook. Instead, his Facebook account was frozen, since he violated Facebook’s terms of service by posting illegally on Zuckerberg’s page. His account has since been reinstated.

Zuckerberg  has 18 million friends on his Facebook page.

Hacker releases Israelis’ personal data

A hacker has released credit card and other personal data of dozens of Israelis and is threatening to leak more.

The hacker published the information on the website Remember Emad, referring to the operational chief of Hezbollah, Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed Feb. 12, 2008 in Damascus by a car bomb. Hezbollah blames his killing on Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the hit.

The hacker on Wednesday released credit card numbers, Facebook passwords, copies of checks and identification numbers of dozens of Israelis. It also released the database of The Israeli Presidential Conference, an annual program hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The information comes from WebGate, an Israeli data center, the hacker reported on the website. The hacker reports, “We have terabytes of data from WebGate, but uploading the whole chunk of data on our servers will take time, so we decided to publish them gradually.”

In January, Saudi Arabian hackers published the credit card information and personal data of thousands of Israelis. Many of the cards were expired or the numbers were repeated on several lists.

Hacker takes over Israeli deputy FM’s website

A hacker temporarily took over the website of Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon.

The hacking attempt came Monday. Ayalon had spoken out over the weekend against cyber terrorism after suspected Saudi hackers released the details of thousands of Israeli credit card holders in three files over several days.

Ayalon’s website was down for about a half-hour. He reportedly has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

“They will not be able to stop my activities and work on behalf of Israel,” Ayalon said in a statement. “Certainly not in cyberspace, where we have had recent successes on YouTube and Facebook. Cyberspace appears to be the new battlefield, and our opponents will not be able to defeat us on this plane either.”

On Monday, Israeli hackers told Ynet that they are in possession of the details of thousands of credit cards used on Saudi shopping websites and will release them at “the right moment” in retaliation for the Saudi hackers’ attacks on Israeli citizens.

Hackers disable German right-wing websites

The websites of several right-wing extremists in Germany have been attacked by hackers.

The international hacker group known as “Anonymous” disabled several neo-Nazi websites in an “Operation Blitzkrieg” on Jan. 1, with a “Happy New Year” wish to their targets, according to the German news agency DAPD.

The German-language website nazi-leaks.net published data about donors to the country’s biggest far-right political party – the National Democratic Party of Germany, with an estimated 7,000 members – and about customers of a right-wing mail-order company.

Neo-Nazi groups reacted with alarm to the publishing of client data, which in some cases included e-mail addresses and phone numbers; Spiegel Online reported that the National Democratic Party has threatened to sue, while the publishers of a far-right paper, Junge Freiheit, have already filed charges.

The attack comes as Germany grapples with news about a violent neo-Nazi ring that operated unchecked for more than ten years, and is allegedly responsible for at least ten murders of immigrants in Germany. Recently, it was revealed that German authorities knew about the cell’s activities and proclivities at least a decade ago.

While German politicians and religious leaders debate whether to ban the far-right National Democratic Party, groups like “Anonymous” are taking the law into their own hands, testing legal boundaries with their cyber attacks. “Anonymous” has dealt similar blows to the Scientology organization, organized crime and drug cartels, among others.

The creators of the Nazi-Leaks website reportedly are planning to publish additional material. So far, there has been no confirmation that the lists published this week are authentic.

According to news reports, some of the information had already been hacked and published early last year and has now been assembled at one website.