Feeds

Greek mobile wiretap scandal unpicked

Olympics-gate dissected

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More details have emerged on how Vodafone's Greek network was bugged three years ago to spy on top government officials.

To recap one of the most extraordinary wiretapping scandals of the post-Cold War era: eavesdroppers tapped the mobile phones of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, cabinet ministers and security officials for about nine months between June 2004-Mar 2005 around the time of the Athens Olympics.

The mobile phones of about 100 people, whose ranks include journalists and Arabs living in Greece, as well as the country's political and security elite and a US embassy worker, were monitored after snooping software was illegally installed on the systems of Vodafone Greece.

The spyware diverted phone conversations from Vodafone subscribers to 14 'shadow' pay-as-you-go mobile phones, allowing calls to be monitored and - probably - recorded.

The Greek government reportedly first learned of the spying in March 2005, following a tip-off from Vodafone Greece after the cellco traced problems receiving text messages in January 2005 to eavesdropping software. But for this bug, introduced after the eavesdropping software was modified, the snooping might have gone on for years undetected.

The case is being investigated by the Greek government, which is expected to point the finger at likely culpits. A report is due shortly, according to the New York Times.

Part of the government's investigation will re-examine the supposed suicide of Kostas Tsalikidis, 39, Vodafone Greece’s head of network design. He was found hanged in his Athens flat on March 9 2005, days after Vodafone Greece confirmed its network was bugged.

No arrests have been made in the case and speculation on who was responsible has focused, perhaps inevitably, on foreign intelligence agencies, mostly notably the NSA, the US's signals intelligence agency.

How-dunnit

The July issue of IEEE Spectrum, the normally dry journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, carries an article based on testimony in from parliamentary committee hearings about on the scandal and freedom of information requests. The piece, by computer scientists Vassillis Prevelakis and Diomidis Spinellis, is called The Athens Affair and makes for a very interesting read.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.