Like many security companies, Coreo made a few cyber threat predictions for 2012. They are:
With the news of the Israeli credit card number exposure, Coreo's CEO Marty Meyer said that, less than two weeks into the new year, we've seen a combination of predictions #2 and #5 come true already.
Meyer said to me via email:
In 2011, we observed a diversification of the motivations behind another kind of cyber attack, the Distributed Denial of Server (DDoS) attack. The most common motivation for these types of attacks over the past few years has been the pursuit of illicit financial gain and unethical/unfair business advantage. However, in late 2010 and throughout 2011, we saw the rapid appearance of political activism and ideological activism as motivators for these attacks.
Meyer added that the data breach involving the 20,000+ Israeli credit card numbers is also likely politically motivated, explaining:
Typically, the motivations for data breaches involve the pursuit of illicit financial gain, usually through the re-sale of credit card information and/or fraudulent purchases, or identity theft. However, in this case, the fact that the attacker(s) published the information, rather than trying to use it for financial gain, suggests a motivation more likely to be ideological and/or political.
I think Meyer makes a good point, especially if you follow the story of this particular hack. The person taking responsibility for it is based in Saudi Arabia. At least one person in Israel claims to have taken revenge on Saudi credit cards (although this hasn't been verified yet). I can see Anonymous doing something like that - taking revenge for a hack - but when you consider the animosity between Israel and most Middle Eastern countries, you can't help but suspect the point is political.