The Israel Police warned citizens on Friday not to answer phone or video calls from numbers they don’t recognize—particularly from abroad—following a surge of suspicious calls reported to authorities.
“The purpose of the calls may be to cause panic and harassment and may be part of attempts to take over the WhatsApp accounts,” per a police statement.
“We recommend not answering or returning phone calls or video calls from numbers from abroad that you do not know,” it added.
The police urged citizens to mute calls from unknown numbers.
Concerns about Palestinians hacking into phones have been raised since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,400 people in Israel, during which at least 233 hostages were taken to Gaza.
Hamas now possesses the captives’ cell phones and it is feared the Palestinian terror group could use them to compromise other digital communications.
Israelis scrambled to remove the captives from their social-media groups, particularly WhatsApp.
But the digital threat also runs in the opposite direction. Media reports say Israel has contacted a number of spyware companies about tracking the location of the hostages’ phones.
Meanwhile, several official Hamas propaganda channels have been made inaccessible for Telegram users, who download the application through the Apple App Store, the Zachor Legal Institute announced on Thursday, just days after Telegram did the same for Android users.
The messaging platform has blocked iPhone users from viewing at least four Hamas-linked accounts, JNS independently verified on Thursday.
When trying to access the channels, a message popped up: “Unfortunately, this channel couldn’t be displayed on your device.”