JERUSALEM (JTA) — Operatives for the Hamas terrorist group hacked into dozens of Israeli combat soldiers’ cellphones by posing as attractive Israeli women on Facebook.
Using Israeli women’s photos and identities stolen from social media, the operatives would initiate personal and intimate relationships with the soldiers and then ask them to download what they said was an application in order to video chat, according to reports.
The fake app gave Hamas control over the soldiers’ phones, allowing activation by the terrorist group of the camera and microphone, and access to contacts, videos and photos, as well as Whatsapp conversations and emails. The soldiers were not aware that their phones had been hacked.
The hacks were discovered following investigations by the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces’ Information Security Department and Cyber Defense Unit. The Shin Bet and IDF said the damage was minimal and believe all of the affected phones have been identified, according to Ynet. Most of the soldiers hacked were low level.
Hamas also gathered intelligence by following soldiers on social media and collecting the sensitive information they posted publicly, The Times of Israel reported, citing an unnamed IDF officer.
Current and former soldiers have hundreds of Facebook and Whatsapp groups to stay in contact.