In early 2010, a specialized team of Mossad assassins used an e-mail Trojan to track a Hamas commander in Dubai.
GQ magazine reported that the operation began Jan. 18, when at least 27 operatives of Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) landed in Dubai with orders to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas leader known within Mossad as “Plasma Screen.”
The Mossad operatives were part of an elite, highly-secretive killing unit known as Caesarea, responsible for carrying out the organization's most critical missions.
In order to kill al-Mabhouh – a Mossad target since 1989 – Caesarea operatives first had to find him. They did this by bugging his computer with a Trojan horse that allowed them to monitor his e-mail. From e-mails, they found when he would be traveling to Dubai.
Although the Trojan helped the killing squad carry out its mission, it couldn’t prevent Caesarea members from making crucial human errors, including getting caught on surveillance video changing into disguises, and having their pre-paid phone records traced to a U.S.-based company.
Following the assassination, Dubai released the surveillance videos and the passport photos of the alleged assassins to the media, resulting in blown covers for the Mossad team and serious diplomatic outrage from those countries whose passports were forged.