Reports Suggest NSA Behind Attack on Belgium’s Largest Telecom

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The Belgium government is investigating a complaint filed in July by its biggest telecommunications company, Belgacom SA, that claim it was hacked by an unknown third party, which some sources suspect could be the NSA.

The documents given to the federal prosecutor’s office suggest a high-level of involvement of another country, as prosecutors said the attack could have only been pulled off by an entity “with significant financial and logistical means.” Recently, it was revealed that the NSA invested billions of dollars to build technology designed to break encryption, and threw millions at Internet companies to cover costs associated with meeting certification demands.

The intrusion into its systems revealed a virus in a “few tens” of servers and workstations, GigaOM said. Belgacom said that the virus only infected its internal IT systems, not its telecom traffic, a statement that doesn’t match up with reports by the Wall Street Journal (and a report by De Standaard). Those reports said the attacks were able to track international telephone calls for two years in its BICS unit, the unit also owned by Swisscom and South Africa’s MTN, which provides wholesale telecom infrastructure services with a focus in Africa and the Middle East.

According to GigaOM, reports suggest that the attacker was most likely the NSA or Britain’s GCHQ, and that hackers were allegedly interested in traffic from Syria and Yemen.

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