Hamas Hackers Posing as Women to Con Snr Israeli Officials into Installing Malware

A Middle Eastern hacking group supposedly connected to Hamas uses malware to steal sensitive data from Windows and Android devices of high-ranking Israeli officials.

Sophisticated Catfish Campaign Targeting Israeli Officials

Cybereason’s Nocturnus researcher team has reported a new malware campaign where Israeli government officials are targeted with catfishing lures. Apparently, the Hamas-linked Advanced Persistent Threat group/APT-C-23 is engaged in a sophisticated catfishing campaign specifically targeting high-ranking Israeli officials. The group is also known as Arid Viper, Desert Falcon, and FrozenCell.

Hamas Hackers Posing as Women to Con Snr Israeli Officials into Installing Malware
One of the fake Facebook profiles used by hackers to trick Israeli government officials (Image credit: Cybereason)

Israeli Officials Keep Getting Catfished

It is worth noting that APT-C-23 has a history of successfully catfishing Israeli military and government officials. The group’s campaign goes all the way back to 2015 when Trend Micro revealed that “Arid Viper” successfully targeted Israeli officials with ‘Porn Star Video’ malware.

In 2015 again, an independent security research firm, Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Blue Coat), confirmed that “Desert Falcons” successfully carried out a four-month spying campaign after breaching Israeli military servers. In their campaign, the group also used sensual photos of IDF’s women division to lure officials.

In 2017, Israeli authorities acknowledged that Hamas hacked dozens of IDF soldiers’ phones using seductive female images. In their campaign, hackers posted seductive pictures of young Israeli women on social media to attract IDF soldiers and successfully obtained classified information in return.

In 2018, the Times of Israel reported that the smartphones of hundreds of IDF soldiers were compromised by Hamas. According to the newspaper, IDF blamed Palestinian hackers for spying on its soldiers with spyware-infected World Cup and dating apps and using photos of attractive women.

In January 2020, Hamas hackers managed to lure more Israeli soldiers into falling prey to their Honey Trap operation in which several hundred Israeli soldiers got their smartphones infected with malware….