Greece launches probe into surveillance of journalist | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack


ATHENS: Greek prosecutors said Monday they had ordered an investigation into the suspected hacking of a Greek journalist’s mobile phone, following revelations by an investigative website last week.

The preliminary investigation would be to establish if there had been a breach of his telephone, said Sotiria Papageorgopoulou, head of the Athens prosecutors office.

Greek investigative website Inside Story last week ran a report alleging that financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis had had his phone hacked with a spyware programme called Predator.

They cited a three-page report by the Canadian laboratory Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto, which has revealed several cases of this kind of espionage.

The hack happened between July 12 and September 24 last year according to Citizen Lab.

The Predator malware could not only record conversations but hacked the phone’s passwords, photos, internet history and contacts.

The Predator hack followed a series of investigations by Koukakis: into a Greek bank, expenses claims at the migration ministry and on defence contracts, said Inside Story.

Last week, a government spokesman ruled out any government involvement in the hack, calling for the “competent authorities” to investigate.

Koukakis himself posted on Twitter to say he was awaiting the findings of an investigation by the ADAE, the Greek body responsible for communications security and privacy.

But on Friday Reporters United, another Greek investigative website, alleged that the Greek secret service had had Koukakis under surveillance a year before his phone was hacked by the Predator malware.

On Monday Greece’s Foreign Press Association became the latest media body to express concern at the recent revelations.

Government spokesman Yannis Economou again called for an investigation Monday.

This latest affair follows a row last November after the Greek left-wing daily Efsyn published internal intelligence memos on political activists — and on one journalist.

A government minister at the time denied there was any state surveillance of journalists in Greece.

According to Citizen Lab, the Predator malware was developed by a business called Cytrox, which is based in neighbouring North Macedonia.

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