Feeds

Greek mobile wiretap scandal unpicked

Olympics-gate dissected

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.