The IDF and the defense establishment have uncovered a growing campaign by the Hamas terrorist organization to obtain intelligence on IDF activity and readiness for battle through social media.
The use of smartphones is on the rise in Israel, including among soldiers. The spread of smartphones allows people, including soldiers, to share information and pictures on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A number of sites gather information about their users, including preferences and browsing habits.
The IDF and the defense establishment have discovered that Hamas is using varied and sophisticated methods to gather intelligence on IDF personnel and operations using social media.
A senior army officer said that the IDF has been aware of the activities of Hamas and other enemies of the State of Israel online and has attempted to warn the public about those activities in recent years.
According to the officer, it is easy to build a network attack infrastructure and there are not sufficient safeguards against this form of cyber-threat.
The officer added that the army realized the threats social networks could pose by providing information to Hamas and other terrorist groups through the browsing and posting activities of soldiers and people connected with soldiers currently serving or in the reserves.
Innocent Israelis become, in effect, spies for Hamas.
After soldiers reported suspicious activity on their social media pages, an operation was begun which lasted several months and was led by the IDF information security department (Department of Intelligence and ICT Division) in cooperation with the Shin Bet. The operation focused on detecting and identifying Hamas and other terrorist agents on social media.
The agents would engage soldiers and their families on social media and attempt to goad or steer them into talking about classified information, such as IDF troop movements. Other agents infected cell phones with viruses.
The IDF and the Shin Bet will work together in the coming days to combat this threat. The first step will be the exposure of the false figures who are actually Hamas agents. Additional guidelines will be issued to soldiers on the use of social media.