Israeli Soldiers Caught in Hamas Honey Trap

Times of Israel
Hamas militants, posing as attractive women on Facebook, have allegedly persuaded dozens of Israeli soldiers to install spyware on their phones in an attempt to gather intelligence, it emerged this week. The honey trap was reported by an anonymous Israeli officer, who claimed the catfishing predominantly affected low-ranking, younger troops - those most active on social media and most susceptible to scams. Hamas has not commented on the issue, and it is unclear how the Israeli officer concluded the scammers were members of Hamas.

In his report to journalists on Wednesday, the officer claimed the deceit involved Hamas militants stealing the identities of real women, whose photographs and personal details were lifted from social media sites (predominantly Facebook). They then approached Israeli troops online and struck up conversations, some of which were substantial in length. After winning their trust, militants persuaded the troops to download an application which they claimed would facilitate a video chat.

In reality, it allowed Hamas scammers into Israeli phones, the source said.

The officer reporting the revelations claimed Hamas' motive was to gather intelligence and access details of military maneuvers. However, it remains unclear how far the app allowed the scammers to hijack their target devices and gather such information. Most media outlets claim that Hamas managed to "hack into" and "take control" of Israeli phones using a "virus". However, they do not go into any further detail. Indeed, the officer stressed that the impact had been "limited" and was now contained - leaving room for speculation regarding how far the hack went beyond spyware in phone cameras.

That's not to say Hamas lacks the capacity for complex web attacks. According to Business Insider, Hamas has previously launched a slew of cyber attacks on the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) with the backing of Iran.

This, however, is a different kind of conflict. "The enemy knows the language of young people and installed viruses that can control the telephones of dozens of soldiers," the source told reporters on Wednesday. "The existing potential threat can turn into a real threat to the security of Israel." 

Social media is increasingly a sphere in which modern human activities are playing out, good and bad. It's a new sphere for all kinds of discourse, from casual conversation to politics and warfare. It's quickly absorbing what chunks it can of our many indulgences and struggles. The world, basically, is getting really weird one hack at a time. 

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