Iranian hackers recently obtained and leaked the information of over 300,000 Israelis by targeting popular travel booking websites, Israel’s Privacy Protection Authority confirmed Thursday.
According to Channel 12 News, the attack occurred two weeks ago, and affected websites operated by Gol Tours LTD, a tourist company that owns over 20 Israeli travel booking sites.
Leaked data included telephone numbers, addresses, dates and locations of booked vacations, and sensitive medical information, the authority said.
The authority noted that it contacted the owner of Gol Tours LTD immediately following the hack, an effort met with a refusal to cooperate.
“The required changes were not made,” the authority said, claiming that the owner refused to address the security breaches because it would cost him money to do so.
In the Channel 12 report, the authority added that the owner also ignored instructions provided by Israel’s National Cyber Directorate meant to help the company bolster its security and avoid the additional leakage of data.
Authority officials raided the company’s offices on Thursday and seized its servers until an investigation of its own is complete.
The owner of the travel agency rejected the authority’s claims, saying its authorities treated him worse than the Iranian hackers did.
“I never said I wouldn’t upgrade [the company’s online security measures] because it would cost me money, never,” he told Channel 12.
“We have one of the best security companies in the country,” he continued. “We know how to deal with [the hackers], but we never imagined that we would be hurt by Israel more than by the Iranians.”
The incident came weeks after Israeli communications firms were instructed to bolster cybersecurity in the face of an ongoing cyber war with Iran.