JERUSALEM (JTA) — The cellphones of hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been compromised in a Hamas intelligence-gathering scheme that featured fake women on social media networks.
The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday in a statement that its Operation Rebound foiled the Hamas honeypot operation, its third since 2017.
Hamas created six female characters to lure soldiers, presenting them as new immigrants to Israel to account for their sometimes poor Hebrew. The photos of the women also were edited so it would be more difficult to find the originals online.
The terrorist group created pages for the women on social media platforms such as Telegram, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Through their interactions with the soldiers, the fictitious women asked the soldiers to download one of three apps — Catch and See, ZatuApp or Grixy App — so they could send nude photos to them.
The apps installed software on their phones that Hamas could use to gather intelligence on the IDF through activating the phone’s camera to take pictures, download files, and see the soldiers’ contacts and GPS data.
Over the weekend the IDF, in conjunction with the Israel Security Agency, took down the servers Hamas that used for the ploy.
Similar Hamas honeypot efforts were uncovered and blocked by the military in January 2017 and July 2018.