Iran used Facebook to fool Israelis into collecting intelligence, Shin Bet claims
Iran used a fake Facebook profile to gather intelligence on Israeli targets, the Shin Bet security agency claimed on Monday.
The Israeli agency accused Iranian operatives of posing as “Sara Puppi”, a Jewish woman with connections and business in Israel, in order to befriend thousands of Israelis on the social media site.
After establishing a connection, “Puppi” asked civilians to collect information for Iran, which has deployed numerous cyber operations to gather intel on its regional foe.
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said it tricked and "exposed" “Puppi” by pretending to be a friend on Facebook. She had asked the officers to locate information about Israeli civilians as well as Arab diplomats and businessmen in Israel in return for thousands of dollars payment.
“Operators of the profile used emotional and romantic manipulation to get the information they were seeking,” reported The Times of Israel.
The newspaper also said that Iranian operators asked Israelis to put up provocative banners on billboards against Russian President Vladimir Putin, “with the aim of harming Israel-Russia relations”.
Shin Bet alleged that it had been monitoring the Iranian operation from the start.
The New Arab could not independently verify this, or wider accusations.
Iran has long considered Israel its arch rival, and has attempted to dupe its foe through the use of cyberattacks and online espionage. Earlier this year, four Israelis sent photographs and information to an Iranian operative who recruited them on social media, according to Haaretz.