Tel Aviv – The Israeli Army uncovered a plot by Hamas to trick soldiers into revealing sensitive military information by pretending to be attractive women on social media, a military spokesman said.
Hamas hackers resorted to catfishing, or using fake profiles on Facebook with alluring photos, where they posed as young attractive women who contacted the soldiers via groups on the social network, the Military Intelligence unit revealed.
The soldiers were then asked to download chat applications on their phones which enabled Hamas members to take control of their mobiles.
Army Spokesperson in Arabic Avichay Adraee said that over the last few months, many terrorist organizations, including Hamas, have been resorting to creating fake accounts on social media, especially Facebook. This allowed hackers to have control over the soldiers’ cellphones, in order to download contacts and files, GPS data, photographs, collect text messages and install additional applications on the devices.
An Israeli official would not reveal the exact number of soldiers affected by these attacks, but claimed it was “many dozens.”
“There is, of course, a potential of serious harm to national security, but the damage that was actually done was minor,” the official said.
Adraee said that the army had launched an awareness campaign to inform the soldiers of possible threats posed by posts or photos uploaded to social networks, and will create a body which will operate around the clock to collect and investigate all reports of suspicious online activity.
He admitted that the hackers used developed technologies and managed to take advantage of the soldiers by posting pictures of young women and using the Hebrew language.
According to officials, the army is in the process of broadening restrictions on the use of social media by enlisted soldiers. Those with the rank of major and above will be barred from uploading any photos showing themselves in uniform or publish that they are part of the military. Such restrictions currently only apply to the positions of lieutenant colonel and above.