TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Israeli military on Wednesday said it had uncovered a plot by the Hamas militant group to spy on soldiers by hacking their mobile phones after posing as women and befriending them on social media.
A senior intelligence official said Wednesday that Hamas tracked down soldiers through Facebook, and then, posing as young women, would send pictures to their mobile phones to strike up a friendship. Soldiers were then persuaded to download a chat application that in reality gave Hamas access to their smartphones.
The military said the photos belong to real women whose photos and personal details were stolen from their Facebook profiles. In a presentation to reporters, it showed photos of the women, some of them wearing swimsuits or stylish sunglasses, along with copies of the flirtatious text messages exchanged with soldiers.
In a short video clip released by the army, an unidentified soldier, whose face was covered by a shadow to protect his identity, said he had been approached by a woman in a Facebook message and struck up a friendship.
"The connection got stronger with time," he said. At her suggestion, he said he downloaded an application to talk, but the app didn't work. "Suddenly I discovered that she isn't a girl. She is Hamas," he said.
The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said dozens of soldiers had fallen for the trick. "It had potential for great damage. Until now, the damage was minimal. But we wanted to prevent it from happening," he said.
Hamas declined comment.