By Benjamin Brown • 16 February, 2020
The IDF have revealed and thwarted Hamas’ attempt to hack into Israeli soldiers’ phones by posing as young women in a string of fake social-media profiles, the military reported on Sunday.
The Hamas terrorist organization attempted to get Israeli soldiers to download malware onto their mobile phones, after contacting them using false identities.
Having established contact, Hamas operatives would encourage soldiers to download malicious file-sharing and chat applications. Once the apps were installed they would gain access to information on the device and relay it to Hamas. Aside from stealing messages, phone logs and photos, the apps were also capable of recording conversations, sharing locations and secretly turning on the phones’ cameras. The IDF spokesperson revealed that Hamas had not managed to steal any sensitive security data.
The profiles used were named after six fictitious characters, Sarah Orlova, Maria Jacobova, Eden Ben Ezra, Noa Danon, Yael Azoulay and Rebecca Abukasis, and posed as new immigrants to Israel to cover up for their lack of Hebrew.
The IDF reported that it had been made aware of suspicious profiles several months ago and identified the threat.
“What Hamas didn’t know was that Israeli intelligence caught their plot, tracked the malware and downed Hamas’ hacking system,” the IDF wrote on Twitter. Its spokesperson described how, together with Israel’s Security Agency, the Shin Bet, it had utilized the software against Hamas.
The incident is not the first time Hamas has tried to use social networks to hack into Israeli soldiers’ phones. In 2018, the IDF uncovered a Hamas plot in which soldiers were being encouraged to download a fake dating app. The year before a number of Hamas-owned fake profiles on Facebook were exposed by Israeli security services.
The IDF spokesperson said that Hamas’ capabilities have increased since the past occurrences with the schemes becoming more sophisticated and Hamas present on more networks. The terror organization has additionally utilized social engineering to improve its dialogues and make its characters more realistic.