Hamas built a functioning World Cup app and several dating apps to lure Israeli soldiers into giving up classified secrets, Israel's military said yesterday.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said operatives from the Islamist militant group created fake Facebook profiles, pretending to be attractive young Israelis. Hamas operatives then used the Facebook profiles to contact Israeli soldiers - writing in slang Hebrew and punctuating their messages with emojis - and tried to convince them to download the mobile apps, it claimed.
One app, called Gold Cup, was a World Cup app that Hamas updated with the latest football scores and statistics.
"It actually was a very good one," a senior IDF officer said.
A dating app called GlanceLove advertised itself as "the best choice for new lovers who care about their privacy and safety".
Another was named WinkChat. Once downloaded, the apps allowed Hamas to access data on the phone and operate it remotely.
The Israeli military said fewer than 100 soldiers fell for the Hamas trap by downloading the apps. In a briefing with reporters, an officer said military security had not been compromised.
"Such activity had the potential to inflict damage to the IDF's information security but no damage has been done," the officer said.
The IDF's counter-espionage operation was known as "Operation Brokenheart" after a Hamas operative used a brokenhearted emoji in a conversation with a soldier.
A Hamas spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Hamas has been experimenting with social media traps for Israeli soldiers since 2016 and the IDF has previously revealed attempts to contact soldiers via Facebook.
In the group's latest effort, it once again began its outreach on Facebook. Hamas operatives created profiles using stolen photographs, the IDF said. The fake profiles would comment on each other's photographs and "like" each other's posts to give the appearance of being real.
The apps appeared on Google Play, an app store that appears on Android devices. The apps involved have since been taken down. A spokesman for Google said the company was looking into the reports. (© Daily Telegraph, London)