‘Honey Trap’ Sites Recruiting Israeli Spies

Websites are offering work to Iranians and Iranian proxies in Syria and Lebanon as spies for Israel and these offers are believed to be a counter-intelligence effort driven by Iran's security services.

Investigators at online news website, The Daily Beast, have found the sites as part of an investigation into a series of apparent phishing websites that spoofed think tanks and news organisations focused on the Middle East and national security.  Those sites include domains meant to trick users into believing they were associated with prestigious news outlets across the Middle East.

At least 16 sites were identified using the same proposition, phrasing, logos, phone numbers to lure people working in sensitive security jobs in the Hezbollah terror group in Palestine, the Assad regime in Syria, or in Iran itself. Neither the cyber security firm Mandiant, nor Google or Facebook, where the sites had accounts, were able to identify who lies behind the phishing domains.

The recruiting sites have surfaced and disappeared over a four-year period, targeting users in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon through Google Ads.

Displaying a picture of the Israeli flag and a contact number with an Israeli country code, a website called 'VIP Human Solutions’  advertises itself as the “VIP center for recruitment of the most distinguished in the military and security services of Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon” that “specialises in research and consultancies in the studies of security and political science in all corners of the world." The Human Solutions’ site promises rapid hiring decisions and big salaries.

Security researchers suspect the intelligence job sites are part of an Iranian counter intelligence effort and say that certain that  these websites are fake and have no  connection to Israel’s genuine  spy services.

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has previously uncovered a scam by Hamas militants to spy on its soldiers by hacking their mobile phones after posing as women on social media. Members of the Palestinian group found the soldiers online, then tried to strike up a friendship using the fake identities and dozens of IDF soldiers were persuaded to install an application that controlled their phone cameras and microphones.

The Israeli National Cyber Directorate has issued a general warning to Israeli businesses to be aware of potential cyber attacks, as the country faced an uptick in hacking attempts. In December last year, Israeli cyber security firm Check Point said that a hacking group identified with the Iranian regime was aiming to attack Israeli targets.

Daily Beast:     Times of Israel:     Media Line:      BBC

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