An Israeli cyber security firm warned Thursday that the Hamas terror group was trying to hack Israelis through a fake version of the Code Red rocket warning app.
The warning came amid the worst bout of violence between Israel and Hamas since 2014, with the terror group firing some 180 projectiles into Israel.
Hamas was trying to take advantage of this and had put out a counterfeit app that mimicked the real software that warns Israelis of incoming rockets and mortars, said ClearSky Cyber Security.
“When you download the (fake) app it takes control of the mobile phone and allows the operator to track the device, take pictures, record sound and make calls and send messages,” said ClearSky CEO Boaz Dolev.
Dolev warned that once the app took control of the phone it was impossible to remove, even if the app was deleted. He urged Israelis to exercise caution and only download apps from recognized stores like Google or Apple.
ClearSky warned that this could be the first stage of a concentrated effort by Hamas to launch cyber attacks against Israel as part of the ongoing round of violence.
However, the firm said that it appeared the malicious app had been discovered at an early stage and had not infected very many phones.
Hamas fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night and Thursday, including one barrage that slammed into the town of Sderot, and another at Beersheba, marking the first time the city had been targeted since 2014’s 51-day war.
Hamas said Thursday night that a ceasefire has been reached to end the nearly two days of intense fighting with Israel, even as the high-level security cabinet on Thursday instructed the IDF to “continue acting forcefully” against the terror groups in Gaza.
Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV channel reported late Thursday that a ceasefire had taken hold “on the basis of mutual calm.” It said the deal was mediated by Egypt and other regional players.
Israel denied a ceasefire had been reached, but a senior Israeli official told Israel Radio that quiet would be met with quiet.