Greek prosecutor to probe alleged bugging of journalist's phone

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An employee cleans a patch at a bungalow hotel near the town of Chania on Crete island, on April 21, 2022.
Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFPAn employee cleans a patch at a bungalow hotel near the town of Chania on Crete island, on April 21, 2022.

'A preliminary investigation has begun on the matter,' says the prosecutor, who declined to be identified

A Greek prosecutor on Thursday said she began an investigation into an allegation by a journalist that his smartphone was infected by surveillance software in an operation by the country's intelligence service. 

A spokesman for the EYP intelligence service told Reuters it had no comment on Greek media reports.

The reports detailed the assertion by Thanasis Koukakis, 43, a financial journalist who works for CNN Greece and has done investigative reporting on financial crimes.

This comes as the European Union is taking a harder look at spyware merchants and the use of surveillance software. 

"A preliminary investigation has begun on the matter," the prosecutor, who declined to be identified, told Reuters, adding the probe would seek to determine whether there had been a breach of the country's telecommunications privacy legislation.

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Koukakis told Reuters he believed his phone had been infected by Predator spyware developed by Cytrox, a Europe-based surveillance company.

Cytrox did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. 

Koukakis noticed his phone "started acting strangely" and asked Toronto University's Citizen Lab for help. 

"I could not believe I was being wiretapped," Koukakis told Reuters.

Citizen Lab researcher Bill Marczak confirmed the Lab analyzed Koukakis's phone and found traces of Predator spyware.

"We analyzed it and confirmed a Cytrox infection," he told Reuters. "We identified the SMS on the phone used to target him... it is the first Greek case we have been able to confirm."

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