They monitor mobile phones in Athens
The new wiretapping case! Published in the newspaper “Ta Nea” by detective Pelekasis Nikos.
The new wiretapping case of the company “drin drin” that offered mobile phone monitoring has highlighted a major gap in the protection of mobile phone owners… “A search on Internet advertisements and…. in numerous publications will show that the “drin drin case” was the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of investigation agencies that offer for a small fee the ability for anyone to track anyone they want.”
In the Cybercrime Department… the case of the drin drin company, which offered the possibility for 20 euros a month for companies to monitor their executives or commit industrial espionage, law firms to monitor opponents and shipowners to know in a “public hearing” the business plans of their rivals, simply highlighted a major gap that exists in the protection of mobile phone owners and especially smartphones.
“If the monitoring program is installed on the mobile phone, the user has two ways to understand that he is being monitored,” private researcher Nikos Pelekasis tells NEA.
The first is from the itemised bill sent by the mobile phone company, where any duplicate charges should be checked. “The monitoring software alerts the one being monitored every time the ‘victim’ receives a call and he chooses whether he would like to record it. Doing so, however, charges a message to the bug’s phone. Also, if the victim sends an SMS and the bug wants to receive it too, then the message will be charged twice,” says Nikos Pelekasis. A second way that can make someone suspicious that their phone is being tracked is the rapid consumption of the battery.
With the monitoring program the bug has the ability to activate the phone and even turn it into a microphone unbeknownst to the victim who thinks he has a switched off phone!
The police officers of the Cybercrime Unit had taken out notepads and noted what the 33-year-old administrator of the website drin drin revealed to them and found situations that were more reminiscent of a Hollywood spy movie. “And yet this is the reality that thousands of Greek citizens are unknowingly experiencing, who have no protection,” a senior officer of the Hellenic Police Force tells NEA. In one of the applications revealed by the 33-year-old, the surveillance program could even activate the mobile phone camera and send visual footage of what the “victim” of the surveillance was doing directly to the bug. Somehow the battery life of the phone is reduced and the person being tracked has an early indication that something is wrong. Already in many critical meetings of large corporations and government agencies, attendees are asked to remove the battery and dead the phone.
Otherwise, according to senior officers of the Hellenic Police, “even if the mobile phone is switched off, it can monitor and record”. The records seized at the company’s headquarters contained 2,500 names of people being monitored. “This number only refers to those monitored by some companies that had requested invoices because they could not justify this line item from their budget. We estimate that the number of people who were under surveillance is more than 10,000,” is the estimate of police officers from the Cybercrime Unit.
Half of the mobile phones in Athens are monitored. The new wiretapping case! Published in the newspaper “Ta Nea” by detective Pelekasis Nikos.