(Credit: Israeli army)

The Israeli army accused Hamas today of trying to leverage malicious social networking apps to infiltrate its computer networks and steal data, according to a report in The Washington Post. Hamas is a militant political organization representing Palestine and the Gaza Strip, and Israel and the United States classify it as a terrorist group.

SEE: How to get 6 months of The Washington Post for free, and then pay only 4 bucks a month

Speaking to the Post, an unnamed senior Israeli army official claimed that military intelligence had uncovered at least three different dating apps that Hamas operatives were attempting to trick Israeli soldiers into installing on their Android devices. The official said that the operatives were posing as young Israeli women on Facebook and Twitter.

"Technically, they are not that smart," the official told the Post, "but they have a very good understanding of what Israeli youths are interested in, what they talk about, and their level of Hebrew is excellent."

Facebook itself has been struggling with shams lately, saying that it deleted a staggering 583 million fake accounts just in Q1 2018. By the law of averages, many such accounts will still fall through the cracks and possibly create problems later.

FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter to keep up with the latest app news.

All three apps cited in the report have been removed from the Google Play Store over the last few months, where they had been downloaded a few hundred times. The Israeli army did not articulate how successful these apps had been at stealing data, saying instead that "hundreds of recruits" had been approached via Facebook.

A representative for Hamas did not comment for this story.

The takeaways

  1. While no one likes the prospect of malware on a military network, it's not clear how much of an impact these apps had. For security reasons, we can't expect Israel to go into much detail or even to confirm that any data was actually stolen.
  2. This is a good reminder of how important it is to be wary of strangers sending you links to apps that they want you to install.

Also see

Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.