IDF thwarts Hamas effort to lure soldiers into downloading malware via explicit photos

If the IDF soldiers wanted to see explicit photos, the “women” said that an app similar to Snapchat had to be downloaded.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

In an operation dubbed “Operation Rebound,” the IDF announced on Sunday it thwarted a cyber campaign by Hamas to collect information from IDF personnel.

Israeli intelligence services say there have been “ongoing attempts carried out by the Hamas terror organization to spread malware and infect mobile devices belonging to IDF soldiers.”

According to an IDF statement, Hamas infiltrated the cellphones of soldiers and low-ranking commanders by having flirtatious “women” befriend a soldier via popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram.

In order to reduce the chance of their ruse being discovered by the soldiers, the “women” introduced themselves as new immigrants in order to cover for their lack of Hebrew proficiency. They also pretended to be deaf or hard-of-hearing to avoid the soldiers from directly speaking to them via phone or video chat.

If the soldiers wanted to see explicit photos, the “women” said that an app similar to Snapchat had to be downloaded

After downloading the app, the app’s icon appeared on the soldier’s cellphone screen. However, when attempting to use the app, an error notification appeared, stating that the app wasn’t supported by the device’s version, and would therefore delete itself.

Shortly after, the app would shut itself down and the app icon would disappear – as if it was deleted. But by then, the malware was installed which allowed Hamas to take control over the device.

The spyware established a link to Hamas servers and automatically transferred files from the infected device. This gave Hamas operatives the ability to secretly download and run files, collect the device’s identification data, read copies of  SMS messages, access the phone’s files system, GPS location, and use the phone’s camera to take secret pictures.