The head of the Athens Prosecutor’s Office ordered on Monday a preliminary investigation into the alleged surveillance of Greek journalist Thanasis Koukakis financial editor of CNN Greece and regular contributor to local and international media outlets.
The @insidestory_gr and @reporters_gr revelations regarding the surveillance of my phone led to the intervention of the Athens Prosecutor, Sotiria Papageorgopoulou, who ordered a preliminary examination. I welcome this development. It is crucial and important 1/2
— Thanasis Koukakis (@nasoskook) April 18, 2022
Koukakis discovered that his mobile phone had been hacked by spyware Predator, from July 12 to September 24, 2021. The spyware was developed by Cytrox, a company in North Macedonia.
The journalist was informed of the hacking after requesting the assistance of the digital rights group Citizen Lab, based in the University of Toronto, in late March. Citizen Lab added that it could not confirm whether the spyware was used by the Greek government or a private company, according to the IS report.
👉 Το πρώτο ρεπορτάζ μας: Ποιος τον παρακολουθεί https://t.co/3Wzj9jgWxV
— inside story. (@insidestory_gr) April 18, 2022
Citing the 3-page analysis of Citizen Lab, Inside Story reports that spyware Predator turns a cell phone into an advanced surveillance device. “Predator is a monitoring tool that gives its operator full and ongoing access to the target [mobile] device, it allows the operator to export secret passwords, files, photos, web browsing history, contacts as well as identity data (such as information about the mobile device). It can also take screen captures, record the user’s entries [on his mobile], as well as to activate the microphone and the camera of the device. This allows attackers to monitor any action taken on or near the device, such as conversations taking place in a room. The predators also allows its operator to record text messages sent or received (including those sent through “encrypted applications).”
During the time of the surveillance, Koukakis was covering topics relating to alleged money laundering and corruption in the Greek banking sector. notes daily kathimerini.
In a separate report on April 15, Reporters United (RU) alleged it had seen documents showing that Koukakis was also under surveillance by Greece’s National Intelligence Service EYP a year before the phone hack by Predator.
Το Μαξίμου προσπάθησε να κρύψει τις υποκλοπές.
— Reporters United (@reporters_gr) April 15, 2022
According to the report, EYP had cited reasons of “national security” in the documents. RU said the surveillance started in June 1, 2020 and ended abruptly on August 12.
According to the two media outlets that reported about the scandal, there were efforts to cover up the surveillance of Thanasis Koukakis.
International media organizations have called on Greek authorities to thorough investigate the surveillance issue.
Greek authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the surveillance of journalist Thanasis Koukakis, determine who orchestrated that monitoring, and hold them to account. https://t.co/LtzKGUaiDn
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) April 17, 2022
Announcement on account of the reported surveillance of our colleague Thanasis Koukakis @nasoskook:
1/9 We have noted with great alarm the reports revealing that another journalist was under surveillance by Greece’s National Intelligence Service, EYP
— Foreign Press Association GREECE (@FPAGreece) April 18, 2022