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- Hamas built several fake apps to lure in Israeli soldiers and steal sensitive security information, Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed.
- Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were contacted on social media this year by a trove of dummy profiles and asked to download dating and sports apps which would give remote access to hackers.
- Israel first uncovered Hamas’ use of fake social profiles for the purpose of hacking last year.
Hamas built several fake apps to lure in Israeli soldiers and steal sensitive security information, Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed.
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were reportedly contacted on social media this year by a trove of dummy profiles and asked to download various apps available on Google Play, including GlanceLove, a fake dating site, and Golden Cup, a World Cup scoring app.
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According to IDF, Hamas cyber attackers used stolen identities to create social media profiles to tempt soldiers into giving up personal information and downloading apps that would expose them to harmful malware. Once installed, the apps would allow militants in Gaza to access soldiers’ phone numbers, cameras, and microphones remotely.
Last year, the IDF uncovered dozens of fake profiles used to lure in soldiers to download harmful apps, dubbing the mission “Operation Hunters Battle.” A senior intelligence official said the plot had been foiled, and the army in turn introduced stricter social media policies for its soldiers and opened a hotline for soldiers worried about hacking attempts.
But this year, soldiers began receiving similar messages from profiles, often of young women, which raised concern among army authorities.
According to IDF, in January, a soldier began corresponding in Hebrew with a woman named “Lina Kramer” on Facebook and later on the popular messaging app WhatsApp. During the course of their conversation, “Lina” asked the soldier to download the dating app, which the soldier then reported to his superior, prompting officials to launch an investigation called “Operation Broken Heart.”
According to the head of Israel’s Information Security Department, dozens of reports of similar interactions began flooding in, exposing an entire Hamas cell tasked with using social media to extract intel from the phones of young soldiers.
He added that “Israel’s security was not damaged” by the attempted hacks, and that most soldiers alerted the incidents to their superiors.
As a result, Israel has again updated its social media policies and is conducting training so soldiers can more easily identify malicious activity.