In wake of the Project Pegasus investigation, the European Parliament began checking lawmakers' devices – the head of the Greek socialist party’s phone had signs of an attempted infection.
The phone of a member of the European Parliament was found to have received a malicious link that could have infected their phone with the spyware known as Predator, which is created by an Israeli-made offensive cyber company.
According to a report in Kathimerini, Nikos Androulakis, who is an MEP for the Greek socialist party – known as PASOK, or the Panhellenic Socialist Movement – and also serves as its president, was found to have received an SMS message containing a link that, if clicked, would have infected his phone with the Predator spyware. Androulakis did not click the link and his phone was likely not infected.
"There was an attempt to bug my mobile phone with the Predator surveillance malware," Androulakis told reporters after filing the complaint with prosecutors. "The revelation of those hiding behind such sick practices … is not a personal issue but my democratic duty," he added.
Predator, which is produced by a firm called Cytrox, is almost identical to the infamous Pegasus spyware made by the competing and more famous cyber firm NSO Group. Predator is similar to Pegasus in terms of its capabilities, but differs in the way it infects a device: It requires the victim to click on a link, while some versions of Pegasus do not.
Cytrox is owned by a firm called Intellexa which, though currently based in Greece, is run by a former Israeli military intelligence official Tal Dilian. Though the firm is registered abroad, sources say many of its workers are Israelis and the company may even have staff in Israel. Until recently, the Intellexa was based in Cyprus.