GCHQ ‘Hacked Belgium ISP Belgacom’

surveillance cyber crime, cyber intelligence

Belgacom, which counts the European Commission and the European Parliament as its customers, a target of British intelligence, leaks show

Leaks from Edward Snowden indicate that GCHQ targetted Belgium ISP Belgacom, which reported a breach earlier this month, according to a report.

On Monday, Belgacom said it was concerned about an intrusion into its IT systems, saying it had found an unknown virus and filed a complaint with the Federal Prosecutor. Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said the attack suggested “high-level involvement by another country”, the AP reported.

GCHQ doughnutToday, Der Spiegel said it was sitting on GCHQ documents related to “Operation Socialist”, which was designed to “enable better exploitation of Belgacom”.

Belgacom attacked by GCHQ?

The leaks indicated Belgacom employees with high-level access were targeted with malware. Slides also suggested GCHQ wanted to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on Belgacom customers, whilst looking into the vulnerability of the MyBICS reporting tool run by the telecoms firm.

Belgacom counts the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament among its customers.

Belgium, as the centre of the EU, has been the subject of much surveillance, according to Snowden’s leaks. Recent reports suggested the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, had been targeted by the US National Security Agency

GCHQ said it would not comment on media stories about leaks or on intelligence matters. Belgacom had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The UK intelligence agency has repeatedly been cited as a close partner of the NSA, allegedly tapping into fibre lines and acquiring intelligence through the PRISM programme that amalgamated data from Internet giants. GCHQ was also said to be sneaking vulnerabilities into commonly used encryption.

Yet MPs have stated it has not broken the law and congratulated GCHQ on its effective surveillance work.

But the European Commission has repeatedly raised concerns about the effect of surveillance on citizens’ privacy.

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