back to article Greek mobile wiretap scandal unpicked

More details have emerged on how Vodafone's Greek network was bugged three years ago to spy on top government officials. To recap one of the most extraordinary wiretapping scandals of the post-Cold War era: eavesdroppers tapped the mobile phones of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, cabinet ministers and security officials …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Granted, there are no centerfolds.

    "IEEE Spectrum, the normally dry journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers"

    Normally dry?!

    IEEE Spectrum is the highly graphics-enhanced "show and tell" propaganda arm of the IEEE! Highly recommended, even to the lay public, and only USD 3.99 at your friendly University Bookstore.

    If you want "dry", go take a look at one of the "IEEE Transactions on ..." booklets.

  2. heystoopid


    Has all the hallmarks and footprints of an inside job , at a very senior management level , so whom was covering who's tracks , and who has copies of those logs for self protection? , and some one or some organization used illegal means to cover their tracks!

    Say , I wonder why the TV show "Spooks" or all the other TV spy shows from 24 down do not run with a similar story line , it would make an excellent award winning episode! , as this cold case melodrama as it unfolds is made for TV quite literally!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Las Vegas too

    There have been various rumors, insinuations etc. going back to the 1980s that the switching system in Vegas is compromised. Mostly, it was supposedly stuff such as escort services having phone trouble. They wouldn't pay up "protection" money, and instead of having Vinny come by and break some kneecaps, the phone would quit ringing and so business would grind to a dead halt. Calls would get diverted to some other company. Or, calls would go through, the escort would show up and the customer was already being "serviced" -- another escort had beat them there.

    My recollection was this was covered in an old issue of Phrack. Hotel switchboards said it couldn't be them, so then people pointed the finger at Sprint who (at least at the time) provided landline service; they claimed attacks on the switching system were impossible and pointed the finger back at the switchboards. Who was it really? I don't know. I also don't live anywhere near Vegas, and haven't ordered any escorts when I've visited, and certainly wouldn't know if they came from the right company if I had 8-). So I don't know if this is ongoing or not.

  4. Dillon Pyron

    Inside job? Dry?

    Inside job? I personally think so. I also think the network guy found hanged in his apartment wasn't feeling guilty and afraid the authorities were getting too close, I think his co-conspirators felt the authorities were getting too close and that he was a weak link. How's that for a conspiracy theory.

    You want dry? Communications of the ACM. Although better than 20 years ago (which is, oddly enough, when I was published. Hmmm, pot, kettle).

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    IEEE Transaction DRY??

    To the true connoisseur, IEEE Transactions can be full of excitement!!

  6. James Micallef Silver badge

    Same thing in Italy....

    It hasn't really hit too much headlines outside Italy, but there's also a big investigation into illegal wiretaps there. But in that case there wasn't any particular technical wizardry involved in the wiretaps - just plain old human involvement.

    When Telecom Italia was taken over by Pirelli's major shareholder Tronchetti Provera through a series of intermediary companies, Pirelli's security team was completely transformed into Telecom Italia's new security team, whose job, among others, was to provide Italian police with wiretaps when the police presented a warrant. Not only were members of the security team doing a little wiretapping of their own (on various government ministers and public offices), but they also had a system through which they could identify if anyone was tapping them.

    Its still under investigation so I'm sure there's lots to come out yet.

  7. M


    As usual when the conspiracy scent is sniffed... lots of people point the finger at the NSA, CIA, MI5, KGB etc...

    Now KGB, MI5 (maybe) or another counties agencies I could believe... but NSA is pretty ridiculous.. they already have this data without having to go to all the hassle of getting people to physically get into the exchanges.

    This is mobile phone traffic we are talking about. Mobile phones put this data on the air in the form of RF energy... something the NSA and sister agencies have had satalites and ground monitoring stations listening into for decades. And yes the sats are almost certainly sensitive enough to pickup spill from devices as weak as mobile phones. Yes there is some mild encryption in place, but for an agency that has dedicated the last few decades to cracking codes used by governments its hardly going to be a challange. >80)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? You think your calls are safe?

    Digital switches means that you can create undetectable wiretaps at the CO.

    (Hence the Ericson's software)

    In theory, this could happen anywhere in the world on any telephone.

    So you can blame or believe that any government is capable of doing this.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this comes up in a new spy movie as part of the plot...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IEEE Spectrum

    Spectrum used to be dry, and serious. These days it is almost content-free and makes Scientific American look like a school textbook...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is no way that a satellite can pickup a mobile phone transmission. I could (just about) believe that they will be able to detect that something is transmitting on the required frequencies. However, a mobile phone system such as GSM doesn't transmit on many different channels. This means that lots of phones, in different cells, will be transmitting on the same frequencies at the same time (hence why there are cells) so a satellite would only be able to pick up garbage as many transmitters on the same channel, but in different cells would talk over each other.

    Talking about dedicated taps, such as those which happen as Menwith Hill, is a different matter, though.

  11. Carrie


    "The mobile phones of about 100 people, whose ranks include journalists and Arabs living in Greece..."

    Journalists and Arabs??

    What the heck is that supposed to mean?

    Are journalists and Arabs so noteworthy as to call them out on their own? That's a weird little bit of insinuation right there...

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