Belgium’s largest telecom provider earlier this week acknowledged it discovered they had suffered a security event after detecting a malicious agent on the company’s network, and now reports indicate the attack may have been carried out by the British intelligence service GCHQ.
According to Spiegel Online, leaked NSA documents included a presentation that outlined how “Operation Socialist” was engineered so the GCHQ could map Belgacom’s network in order to better exploit it for intelligence gathering.
“When news first emerged of the cyber attack, suspicions in Belgium were initially directed at the NSA. But the presentation suggests that it was Belgium’s own European Union partner Britain that is behind Operation Socialist, even though the presentation indicates that the British used spying technology for the operation that the NSA had developed,” the international news publication reports.
the operation hinged on the placement of technology that allowed for what is dubbed a “Quantum Insert” (“QI”), in which malicious browser redirects were used to target Belgacom employees in order to infect their systems with malware agents that would allow GCHQ agents access.
“Some of the employees whose computers were infiltrated had “good access” to important parts of Belgacom’s infrastructure, and this seemed to please the British spies, according to the slides,” the report continued.
Thought the presentation is undated, but another leaked document implies that the operation had begun sometime in 2010.
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