New documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal it was the UK’s Government Communications Agency behind the recent attack on Belgium’s largest telecom, not the NSA as initially suspected.
In July, Belgacom SA filed a complaint with the Belgian government that it was hacked by an unknown party with “significant financial and logistical means,” which led many to believe it was the NSA behind the system intrusion.
On Friday, German newspaper Der Spiegel said leaked GCHQ documents show the attack was actually related to “Operation Socialist,” a computer network exploitation exercise targeting part of Belgacom’s mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
A GCHQ PowerPoint presentation showed that the purpose of the attack was to allow GCHQ to perform man in the middle operations against targets roaming using smartphones, according to a report by Information Age.
While there are no dates on the PowerPoint slides, many sources said that GCHQ has been spying on Belgacom traffic since 2010 or 2011.
Belgacom spokesperson Haroun Fenaux said that it has “eradicated the virus” and is waiting to hear from the federal prosecutor to “determine who was behind the virus and what their intentions were.”
Earlier this week, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at Brazilian Internet independence after allegations that the NSA hacked into her communications and the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network.