Hackers posing as attractive women steal sensitive info from rebels that could greatly benefit pro-Assad forces.
Recently, opposition fighters in Syria looking for love on the internet got more than they bargained for when it was revealed that they were actually chatting with the enemy. In a report released Monday from security research firm FireEye, the result of a years-long investigation, it was confirmed that members of a group, perhaps sympathetic to President Bashar al-Assad, posing as young, attractive females, were able to utilize a catfishing scheme to collect over 7.7 gigabytes worth of stolen data from 12,356 contacts in at least eight countries. These hackers, using avatars and fake photos, made contact with rebels via Skype and Facebook requesting a photo swap. Once downloaded, these malware-laden photos were able to absorb a plethora of sensitive information including strategic contacts, battle plans, movement information, even the IDs of refugees who’d fled to Turkey—often housed on basic phones and laptops. While the FireEye report stopped short of making a direct link between pro-Assad forces and the hackers, the information the group recovered would certainly have benefitted Assad’s army.
Image via FireEye