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[Firstlook] Operation Socialist: How GCHQ Spies Hacked Belgium's Largest Telco

operation socialist

When the incoming emails stopped arriving, it seemed innocuous at first. But it would eventually become clear that this was no routine technical problem. Inside a row of gray office buildings in Brussels, a major hacking attack was in progress. And the perpetrators were British government spies. [...]

Last year, documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that British surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters was behind the attack, codenamed Operation Socialist. And in November, The Intercept revealed that the malware found on Belgacom’s systems was one of the most advanced spy tools ever identified by security researchers, who named it “Regin.” [...]

The glitch was left unresolved until June 2013, when there was a sudden flare-up. After a Windows software update was sent to Belgacom’s email exchange server, the problems returned, worse than before. The administrators contacted Microsoft for help, questioning whether the new Windows update could be the reason for the fault. But Microsoft, too, struggled to identify exactly what was going wrong. There was still no solution to be found. (Microsoft declined to comment for this story.) [...]

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/13/belgacom-hack-gchq-inside-...