In the hacking world, as in the spy world, the oldest trick in the book is the honeypot. I'm sure you know what it is even if you haven't heard that exact term before. A honeypot scam is a way to get goods or information from someone by seduction.
A classic sweetheart scam on a dating site is a form of a honeypot scam. People are still falling for it after all these years. Now, a group of Syrian rebels has coughed up battle plans to pro-government hackers.
How in the world were members of the Syrian rebel army tricked into giving away information? It was pretty clever, actually.
First contact was made through Skype, where the targets were asked how old they were and if they were using a computer or a smartphone. Then the targets were sent a racy photo that was more than met the eye.
These were no ordinary snapshots. These photos were crammed with layers of computer virus code and spy software that was activated unwittingly by the targets. These weren't just random targets, either. Some of the main targets included a media activist, a humanitarian, an opposition leader and a high-ranking defector.
More than 30,000 Skype sessions later, the hacker had stolen an incredible amount of information. "This included correspondence, rosters, annotated satellite images, battle maps, orders of battle, geographic coordinates for attacks, and lists of weapons from a range of fighting groups," wrote Fireeye, the digital security group which exposed the honeypot scheme.
We don't yet know the identity of the hackers that stole the information from the Syrian rebels, but experts think that "a link to the Assad regime seems likely."