Beware of Greeks Bearing Spyware: Ex-Meta Employee’s Phone Hacked by Greek Intelligence

Beware of Greeks Bearing Spyware: Ex-Meta Employee’s Phone Hacked by Greek Intelligence

Table of Content

In this article, we’ll explore the recent news of an ex-Meta security policy manager’s phone being hacked by Greece’s national intelligence agency, the events leading up to the discovery, and the impact this might have on the cybersecurity landscape.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Former Meta security manager’s phone hacked by Greek intelligence agency.
  2. Predator spyware was used in the attack.
  3. The victim, Artemis Seaford, has filed a lawsuit in Athens.
  4. Seaford’s case is not an isolated incident in Greece.

The Hacking of Artemis Seaford’s Phone:

Artemis Seaford, a former Meta security policy manager, had her phone hacked by the Greek national intelligence agency, according to a New York Times report. 

Seaford worked for Meta from 2020 to 2022 while living part-time in Greece, focusing on cybersecurity policy issues and communicating with Greek and European political officials.

Predator Spyware: A Powerful and Dangerous Tool:

Predator is a spyware developed by North Macedonia-based company Cytrox. 

Similar to the notorious Pegasus spyware, Predator can monitor text messages, calls, photos, and videos on a target’s phone. 

In Seaford’s case, the spyware infected her phone after she clicked a link in a text message seemingly related to her COVID-19 booster shot appointment.

Greek Intelligence and the Use of Predator:

Seaford’s case is not the first instance of the Greek government being accused of using spyware to surveil citizens. 

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has faced allegations of orchestrating mass wiretapping and spying targeting government members, opposition politicians, and journalists. 

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has also reported that Cytrox sold zero-day exploits to government-backed entities in Greece for spyware deployment in 2021.

Legal Actions and Investigations on the Rise:

In response to the attack, Seaford has filed a lawsuit in Athens against the unknown individuals responsible and requested an investigation by the Greek Authority for the Protection of the Privacy of Telecommunications. 

Seaford has become the initial U.S. citizen and fourth individual to take legal action in Greece against the usage of spyware. 

He is joining forces with Thanasis Koukakis, an investigative journalist, and two opposition politicians.

Conclusion

The case of Artemis Seaford highlights the increasing concerns around government-sponsored cyber-espionage and the use of powerful spyware like Predator. 

As more individuals take legal action against these breaches of privacy, the pressure mounts on governments and surveillance software companies to address the issue. 

With the European Union and the US cracking down on commercial surveillance software, it remains to be seen how this rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape will develop in the coming years.

 

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Written by

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling is a renowned financial writer with over 10 years in the finance sector. With a strong economics background, he simplifies complex financial topics for a wide audience. Alexander contributes to top financial platforms and is working on his first book to promote financial independence.

Reviewed By

Judith

Judith

Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.