Commentary

Hamas Catfished Israeli Defense Forces

Guys are guys the world over, and that means no matter where you go, you can probably trick them into telling you stuff they shouldn’t by posing as a hot chick online.

That’s the eternal truth behind an embarrassing intelligence breach recently admitted by the Israel Defense Force, an organization not known for taking such things lightly.

According to the IDF, the militant Islamist group Hamas succeeded in eliciting some classified information — though no major secrets — from male soldiers by posing as attractive young women and striking up conversations online through dating apps and social media.

Hamas used stolen photos of real women and models to create fake social media profiles, then engaged dozens of IDF soldiers in flirtatious conversations. The goal was to persuade them to download a video messaging app – perhaps with the promise of more explicit communication – that would allow Hamas to monitor their smartphones.

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The app was malware that gave Hamas access to an individual's smartphone camera, microphone, address books, video and photo libraries, emails and Whatsapp conversations. Among other things, this would yield information on IDF deployments in the Gaza area.

The IDF also revealed Hamas operatives behind the fake profiles used Hebrew slang to make them seem more realistic. The IDF made the disclosures as part of an educational campaign alerting soldiers to the dangers of interacting with strangers on social media.

Over the last decade, social media has turned into a virtual battleground, exploited by nation states and terrorist groups alike for intelligence gathering, as well as propaganda and disinformation.

To cite one example among many, back in 2015, Air Force General Hawk Carlisle revealed that USAF destroyed an ISIS headquarters after being tipped off by a social-media post. Similarly, ill-advised social media posts by ordinary Russian soldiers proved that Russian forces were deployed to eastern Ukraine in 2014-2015.

2 comments about "Hamas Catfished Israeli Defense Forces".
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  1. Jerry Gibbons from Gibbons Advice, January 12, 2017 at 12:57 p.m.

    Mata Hari now lives in the social media world.

  2. Dyann Espinosa from IntraStasis, January 12, 2017 at 9:51 p.m.

    Odd to find this kind of information in MediaPost, as opposed to the general interest press. But the article was very enlightening, showing how war, social media and that old standby sex have come together in this digital age. 

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