The Greek National Intelligence Service (Ethnikí Ypiresía Pliroforión – EYP) is strengthening its cybersecurity capabilities by establishing a new cybersecurity center. This center will have the responsibility of monitoring, detecting, and responding to cyber threats and security breaches affecting Greece’s digital infrastructure, Greek Reporter writes.
According to sources from the Greek state news agency AMNA, the new cybersecurity unit will be known as the Security Operation Center (SOC) and will operate around the clock, seven days a week, starting in September 2023.
This development comes in the wake of the European Parliament’s recent call for Greece to take action in order to prevent the misuse of spyware and ensure its use is in line with EU law and proportionate. The plea was made following last year’s wiretapping scandal, which garnered unwanted international attention for the EYP and its practices.
The Center will operate in the Directorate of Cyberspace and will be staffed by specialized scientific staff of the Service.
With this project, a complex network of initiatives will soon be completed, through which E.Y.P. assumes a coordinating – central role in protecting the sensitive networks of State Agencies.
The 2022 Greek Wiretapping Scandal
In autumn 2022, the Greek National Intelligence Service found itself in the midst of a wiretapping scandal that sent shockwaves through Greek society and politics, resulting in unwanted international attention.
Official investigations verified that EYP had engaged in wiretapping activities and utilized the illegal Predator spyware to target a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing Greece, a Greek journalist, and a former US-Greek employee at Meta. Local media reports suggested that individuals such as opposition and government party MPs, party activists, and journalists had also been subjected to surveillance, either through Predator spyware or conventional wiretapping methods.
Despite allegations and evidence, the Greek conservative government, which consistently denied purchasing or employing Predator, managed to survive a subsequent censure motion in January 2023. Furthermore, they were re-elected with a significant majority in June.
In May, just days before the first round of the Greek general elections, the European Parliament issued a draft recommendation to the Council and the Commission. The recommendation highlighted that the Greek government had responded to the scandal by implementing legislative amendments that further limited the rights of surveillance targets to be informed after the fact, as well as impeded the work of independent authorities.
The European Parliament’s draft recommendation called on Greece to reverse the 2019 legislative amendment, which placed EYP directly under the control of the Prime Minister. Additionally, they urged Greece to promptly involve Europol in the ongoing investigations of the scandal.