Belgium probes hacking of premier's office (Update)

Nov 06, 2013 by Raf Casert

Belgian authorities said Wednesday they are investigating the origin of espionage software that was left in Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo's office to secretly monitor his activities.

The federal prosecutor's office said it also was looking into a separate, more recent hacking attack, which apparently was aimed at blocking government sites and not linked to spying itself.

Thomas Mels, Di Rupo's spokesman, said that in 2012 officials found the "intrusive software which gathered information and sent it through to a server from whoever put the software there in the first place."

Wenke Roggen of the prosecution's office said the investigation into the origins of the software was still ongoing, and he could not comment further.

Recently, some European countries have complained about secret surveillance of their top officials and citizens in the wake of revelations about a far-reaching spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Belgium has not accused the U.S. of any wrongdoing.

Like other EU leaders, Di Rupo has expressed anger over reports of U.S. electronic espionage overseas and said the Obama administration should agree by year's end to stop alleged American eavesdropping on foreign leaders, businesses and law-abiding citizens.

Last week, Finland, another European Union nation, said its computer networks had been widely hacked but said no highly sensitive information was lost.

Since the discovery in Di Rupo's office, the Belgian government has improved and sped up its cybersecurity strategy, committing 10 million euros ($13.5 million) annually to counter any spying or computer hacking.

Di Rupo also now asks government ministers to leave their mobile phones outside his office during sensitive meetings there.

Explore further: UN moves to strengthen digital privacy

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: Britain hacked Belgian telecom operator

Sep 20, 2013

A news magazine is citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden as saying that Britain's spy services were behind a sophisticated cyber-espionage scheme targeting Belgium's main phone operator.

Chinese loan causes panda-monium in Belgium

Sep 11, 2013

Rival Dutch- and French-speaking communities in Belgium are at each others' throats again, this time because of a loan by China of two pandas to the linguistically divided nation.

Mexican diplomat says Obama promises NSA probe (Update)

Oct 22, 2013

President Barack Obama has promised an investigation into spying the U.S. reportedly did on Mexico's presidential email system, Mexico's top diplomat told reporters Tuesday. The White House said Mexico's ...

Recommended for you

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

16 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

17 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Virtual money and user's identity

23 hours ago

Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet. Faster and cheaper than a bank, the service is attracting attention from all over the world. But a big question remains: are the transactions ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.