Russia appears to be targeting NATO soldiers' personal smartphones in an effort to gain intelligence on military operations and troop strength, reports the Wall Street Journal. Though Russian officials deny such attacks, Western officials say they're sure Moscow is behind the odd things happening to phones because the hackers would seem to need state-level equipment—such as surveillance drones—to pull off such a scheme. US Army Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux, who prepares troop positions for a possible Russian invasion from a NATO base in Poland, tells the Journal he was among those targeted. L'Heureux says he returned from shooting drills to find that a hacker with a Russian IP address had reported his iPhone lost and was attempting to get through a double layer of password protection to access its location.
"They were geolocating me, whoever it was," he said. "I was like, 'What the heck is this?'" It doesn't appear any sensitive information has been compromised, but the potential exists for the hackers to get some eventually, or to at least sow confusion by, saying, sending out fake instructions via a hacked phone. The story recounts how soldiers near the Estonia-Russia border discovered weird stuff happening to their phones earlier this year. Contact lists disappeared, and one Estonian soldier's device began playing hip-hop that hadn't been downloaded by him. That resulted in a no-smartphone rule for the Estonians, though soldiers resorted to keeping them anyway and enclosing them in condoms.