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Rootkit hack taps Greek prime minister's phone

Rootkit hack taps Greek prime minister's phone
Joshua Topolsky
Joshua Topolsky|July 13, 2007 3:39 AM
In 2005, Greek authorities discovered a plot hatched and executed by unknown sources which allowed the tapping of wireless phones on the Vodafone network belonging to the country's Prime Minister and other top officials, making it one of the furthest reaching covert infiltrations of a government in history. A recent report from IEEE Spectrum shows that the tap was made possible by a 6,500 line piece of code called a rootkit, the first-ever to be embedded in a phone switch's OS. The complex hack took advantage of aging phone systems by disabling transaction logs on calls and allowing call monitoring on four switches within the teleco's computers, thus sending the call to another phone for monitoring (similar to a legal wiretap). The spies covered their tracks by creating patches on the system which routed the calls around logging software which would have alerted admins, and were only discovered when they tried to update their software. The case clearly exposes holes in call security amongst providers (due largely in part to outdated systems), and suggests the possibility that this kind of thing could easily happen again... to you!

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