Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

GCHQ 'hacked Belgian phone firm'

GCHQ was behind a cyber-espionage scheme targeting Belgium's main phone operator, it is claimed. Photograph shows GCHQ's main base in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Britain's spy services were behind a sophisticated cyber-espionage scheme targeting Belgium's main phone operator, reports say.

Germany's Der Spiegel reported that classified documents obtained from NSA leaker Edward Snowden indicate the GCHQ signals intelligence agency was behind the spying attack on Belgacom's IT system that Belgium revealed last week and which apparently stretched over the past few years.

The firm also serves European Union institutions based in Belgium.

Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said the investigation into an apparently sophisticated cyber-espionage case was continuing; he added the report will be "closely examined."

"If the hypothesis involving another country is confirmed, we will of course undertake the necessary steps," he said. He did not specify possible retaliation.

GCHQ declined to comment.

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