The Israeli military thwarted efforts by Hamas to hack the phones of soldiers by posing as young attractive women on social media, the Israeli Defense Forces said on Sunday.

“Hamas created fake social-media profiles, using photos including this one, in an attempt to hack the phones of IDF soldiers,” the IDF posted on its official Twitter account, along with a photo of a woman taken from one of the fake accounts. “What Hamas didn’t know was that Israeli intelligence caught onto their plot, tracked the malware & downed Hamas’ hacking system.”

Hamas members pretending to be young women used a number of social-media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, to contact soldiers and form friendships by sending them photos, texts and voice messages, according to Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus . They then sent soldiers links to “seduce” them into downloading what they claimed was an app similar to Snapchat for exchanging photos, he said.

The links were really to three malware programs that gave Hamas access to the soldiers’ phones. The malware was linked to known Hamas servers; at least one of the profiles had been used in a previous Hamas scam.

The phones of dozens of soldiers were hacked through the scam in recent months, though the issue was detected early enough to prevent any major information from reaching the terrorist organization, said Conricus. They are now in the process of removing the malware.

“We do not assess there is any significant breach of information,” the military spokesman said.

This was the third attempt by Hamas to target male soldiers through fake social-media accounts and by far the most sophisticated, he added.

“We see that the level of social engineering is much higher and much more advanced and sophisticated when compared to previous attempts done by Hamas,” said Conricus. “We see that they’re learning and upping their game.”

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