GCHQ Refuses To Answer Questions On Belgacom Hack

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Intelligence agency unsurprisingly keeping schtum over attack allegations

GCHQ refused to turn up to a European Parliamentary Inquiry into allegations that it hacked Belgacom, the Belgian ISP which serves various EU bodies in Brussels.

Leaks from Edward Snowden indicated GCHQ had ran a campaign to break into systems at the ISP as part of a campaign called “Operation Socialist” campaign, set up to “enable better exploitation of Belgacom”.

EU, Europe © Virginija Valatkiene Shutterstock 2012Belgacom had said in mid-September it was aware of an intrusion into its systems, claiming it had found an unknown virus. Prime minister Elio di Rupo said the attack likely involved “another country”, according to the AP.

GCHQ keeps schtum

GCHQ was asked to take part in the investigation, but is refusing to do so.

“Civil Liberties Committee MEPs expressed their regret on Thursday that the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had declined their invitation to take part in a hearing on the alleged hacking of Belgian telecoms firm Belgacom’s servers,” a note on the European Parliament site read.

“Belgacom’s top managers would not confirm or deny media reports that UK intelligence services were behind the attack.”

Belgacom told the inquiry the company had no data on who had carried out the attacks. It has removed the virus and is continuing to investigate.

GCHQ has refused to comment on the matter to press.

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