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: Finland says it was target of "massive" digital spying

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

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0