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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Israeli military said Tuesday it had uncovered a plot by Hamas militants to spy on soldiers by befriending them on social media and then luring them into downloading fake dating applications that gave Hamas access to their smartphones.
A senior intelligence officer said Hamas initially reached out to the soldiers through Facebook, often posing as young women, and then moved the relationship over to the WhatsApp texting service. Following dozens of reports from soldiers receiving unusual messages, the military launched operation “Broken Heart.”
The military said it had uncovered three Hamas-operated apps on Google Play that had been downloaded about 100 times by soldiers since the beginning of the year.
The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under military regulations, said the Hamas cyber efforts to snoop on soldiers were nothing new. But its methods of infecting phones with malicious applications were a significant upgrade since they could seize control of a phone’s contents, potentially acquiring classified information or compromising images that could be used to blackmail soldiers.
The article goes on to state the following:
The official said no damage was done, thanks to newly enacted guidelines for military mobile phone use.
“Once again Hamas tried to fool our soldiers on social networks. Once again Hamas failed,” the officer said, in a briefing to reporters at military headquarters.
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