Photo Credit: Matt Hechter / Flash 90
A young man captures the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea with his cell phone in Tel Aviv

Cleared for Publication: After numerous reports by IDF soldiers of suspicious activity on social media, IDF Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) carried out “Operation Combat Hunter” – an operation aimed at tracking down and thwarting enemy characters on social media.

Israeli intelligence agents uncovered a plot by the Hamas terrorist organization to trick IDF soldiers into revealing sensitive information by using fake chat friends to lure them into downloading a trojan software via their cellphones and other electronic devices.

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Hamas terrorists set up fake profiles masquerading as pretty girls on social media, mostly through Facebook, with which they would start chat conversations with IDF soldiers online.

They created the decoy profiles by using stolen photos of girls from Israel and Europe; some were from female Israeli soldiers, in fact, and engaged the soldiers in conversations on a variety of classified subjects.

After establishing a firm relationship the decoy would ask the soldier to download a chat software in order to “continue” the relationship. The downloaded apps – usually under the names Shirim B’Ahava, YeeCall Pro, SR chat or Wowo Messenger, gave Hamas hackers control over the soldiers’ cell phones.

From that point on, Hamas had control over the device and was able to download other information, and also install other apps on the device.

It’s not known how many soldiers were caught in this trap, but IDF military intelligence told media it was “dozens and dozens.” The highest ranking officer affected in the plot was a Major.

The IDF is now training its rank and file to identify such threats and is also implementing stricter guidelines for use of social media while military personnel are on active duty.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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