Spyware case is potentially explosive

Spyware case is potentially explosive

The attempted installation of spyware on the phones of a political party leader and a journalist has prompted parliamentary investigations and could have political repercussions.

At the end of June, PASOK/KINAL leader and MEP Nikos Androulakis had sent his phone to the European Parliament’s IT services to check if it had been hacked with malware. Androulakis was prompted to do so by the numerous cases of illicit surveillance, mostly with the Israeli-made Pegasus program.

Androulakis was informed that a hacking attempt had been made by sending him a website link,, which mimicked the legitimate site. The message, which urged Androulakis to click on the link, was sent, from a Greek cellphone, on the eve of the elections for for a new leader of the Movement for Change party (KINAL), which Androulakis won, in December 2021.

If Androulakis had clicked on the link, his phone would have been taken over by the Predator spyware manufactured by Cytrox, a North Macedonia-based company.

A December 2021 report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found out that Cytrox, which was founded in 2017, is selling the Predator spyware to governments. If true, this could have serious implications in the Greek case, if it can be proven that a state agency did the spying.

A similar attempt to install the spyware on a cellphone targeted journalist Thanasis Koukakis, who has lodged a complaint with the European Human Rights Court.

Cytrox was acquired for $5 million in 2018 by the Intellexa Group founded by Israeli businessman Tal Dilian. After Dilian ran afoul of Cypriot authorities, which finally dropped pursuits against him, he moved his company’s headquarters to Athens.

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