Ex-Meta safety staffer accuses Greece of spying on her cellphone

Meta’s former safety coverage supervisor, who cut up her time between the US and Greece, is reportedly suing the Hellenic nationwide intelligence service for hacking her cellphone.

After apparently wiretapping her cell, the Greek spy company allegedly deployed Predator surveillance software program on Artemis Seaford’s machine whereas she was engaged on cybersecurity coverage at Meta, a task during which she corresponded with Greek and different European officers, in keeping with The New York Instances.

Predator spyware and adware is prohibited in Greece, and a authorities spokesperson denied the accusations.

“The Greek authorities and safety companies have at no time acquired or used the Predator surveillance software program. To counsel in any other case is mistaken,” Giannis Oikonomou, the federal government spokesman, mentioned. “The alleged use of this software program by nongovernmental events is beneath ongoing judicial investigation.”

Seaford is not the primary or solely particular person to counsel that the Greek authorities makes use of spyware and adware — and particularly Predator — to surveil politicians and journalists. 

Greece’s cyber-spying drawback retains rising

The nation’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has come beneath fireplace for allegedly orchestrating mass wiretapping and spying directed at members of his personal authorities, opposition politicians, and journalists.

Moreover, a Google’s Risk Evaluation Group (TAG), has mentioned that Cytrox, which developed Predator, bought zero-day exploits to government-backed snoops – some in Greece – who used them to deploy the agency’s spyware and adware in at the least three campaigns in 2021.

2021 is when Seaford’s cell phone was reportedly contaminated.

Seaford has filed a lawsuit in Athens in opposition to anybody behind the hack within the hopes of forcing an investigation into the spyware and adware’s utilization. 

We cannot point out the irony of a Meta worker submitting a lawsuit alleging cyber snooping when Meta has confronted its personal authorized battles for secretly (and illegally) monitoring iPhone customers and “surveillance promoting,” amongst different not-so-trustworthy endeavors.

Oops, we simply did.

Select your an infection: Covid? Or Predator?

The way in which the hack occurred is very devious: Seaford booked an appointment for a COVID-19 booster shot by way of the Greek authorities’s vaccination platform, obtained an automatic SMS with appointment particulars, then obtained one other SMS asking her to verify her appointment by clicking a hyperlink.

That final hyperlink was allegedly a malicious URL that, after Seaford clicked it, led to her machine being contaminated with Predator. “The small print for the vaccination appointment within the contaminated textual content message have been right, indicating that somebody had reviewed the genuine earlier affirmation and drafted the contaminated message accordingly,” in keeping with the Instances report.

In accordance with the paper, Seaford labored at Meta between 2020 and 2022, abd noticed her title on a leaked record of spyware and adware targets within the Greek information media final November and took her cellphone for evaluation at Citizen Lab.

Citizen Lab decided her cellphone had been contaminated by Predator spyware and adware in September 2021 for at the least two months. “This doesn’t preclude the potential for different infections, or of an an infection interval extending past November 16 2021,” the forensic report by Citizen Lab mentioned.

Moreover, the Instances reported two individuals “with direct data of the case” advised its reporters that Seaford’s cellphone had been wiretapped by the Greek spy company from August 2021 effectively into 2022.

Seaford is the fourth identified particular person, and the primary American citizen, to file a lawsuit in Greece over using the snooping software program. The opposite three embody investigative reporter Thanasis Koukakis and two opposition politicians.

In the meantime, the European Union has launched its personal investigation into spyware and adware together with Predator and the infamous Pegasus malware. Lawmakers within the EU and US have additionally cracked down on business surveillance software program and the software program companies that promote it. ®