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Shin Bet: Terrorists Using Facebook to Entrap Israelis

The Israeli Security Agency says that terrorists are using the Facebook social network to try and entrap Israelis and gather sensitive information.
By Yehudah Lev Kay
First Publish: 5/18/2009, 1:42 PM / Last Update: 5/18/2009, 2:42 PM

Israel News Photo: (screenshot of logo)

The Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Monday that terrorists are using the Facebook internet-based social network to try and entrap Israelis and gather sensitive security information.

The agency has received numerous reports of Israelis on Facebook who received messages asking them for sensitive military secrets in return for payment. Similar incidents occurred on other internet social networks as well.

In one case, an Israeli received a message from a “Lebanese Merchant” who offered him payment in exchange for sensitive information. The Israeli immediately contacted the Shin Bet about the incident, but the security agency says it was not an isolated incident.

In addition, the agency warned that terrorists may try to entrap an Israeli by using the pretext of meeting him outside of the country in order to transfer a payment for the information. The Shin Bet fears that terrorists may kidnap Israelis through this method.

Security sources warned that terrorists may use the private personal information on social networks, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers, to locate Israelis both in Israel and abroad.

Terrorists have become more adept at using technology to further their purposes. According to Israeli officials, terrorist groups very actively search the internet for Israeli sites that may contain sensitive security information.

In addition, authorities have expressed concern over technologies such as Google Earth which could enable terrorists to gain high quality images of sensitive military sites. Google Earth has blocked some locations in Israel and around the world from view.

During Operation Cast Lead, terrorists made use of cell phone technology to send hostile SMS text messages to Israelis, in a kind of psychological warfare intended to scare soldiers and civilians.