The former head of cybersecurity at Meta was reportedly hacked by the Greek national intelligence agency, according to The New York Times. The phone of Artemis Seaford, the former employee of the company formerly known as Facebook, was intercepted by the Greek spy services, which installed a spy program called Predator on the device.
Seaford, who worked at Meta from 2020 to 2022 on cybersecurity, held conversations with Greek and other European politicians while her device was hacked. The former security manager was unaware of the fact until November 2022 when she saw her name on a leaked list containing the names of a number of spyware targets.
Later, the Citizen Lab platform was able to confirm his suspicions, stating that Seaford’s device had been hacked for at least two months since September 2021. In addition, The New York Times confirms that the former Meta employee’s phone was “bugged” for a year and was the victim of wiretapping.
Predator is a spyware used to spy on persons of interest and journalists, capable of monitoring the infected target’s calls, messages, photos and videos without the target ever knowing of its existence. Unlike Pegasus, another spyware used to spy on high-ranking political officials and persons of interest, Predator requires the target to click on a malicious link, while Pegasus only requires the target device to receive a phone call.
The New York Times claims that the mobile device infection occurred after Seaford made an appointment to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine through the Greek government’s web portal. Following the request, he received a text message several hours later attaching a link that supposedly served to confirm the appointment, which would be the URL that ended up infecting the mobile device.
“The details of the vaccination appointment in the infected text message were correct, indicating that someone had reviewed the earlier authentic confirmation and worded the infected message accordingly,” The New York Times states. “The sender also appeared to be the state vaccine agency, while the infected URL mimicked that of the vaccination platform.”
Seaford, who has filed a complaint in Athens against those responsible for the attack, unknown so far, still doesn’t know why he was a target of Greek intelligence: “In my case, I don’t know why I was targeted, but I don’t see any reasonable national security concerns behind it.”
Hacks and cyberattacks are already the order of the day, unfortunately. The companies PayPal and LastPass were severely hacked last year, and AIs themselves could be targeted by hackers if adequate security measures are not put in place.
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