GCHQ spies hacked Belgacom computers

According to an article in this week’s edition of the German newsmagazine ‘Der Spiegel’, the British intelligence agency GCHQ used the professional networking site LinkedIn to install spyware on the servers of Belgium’s biggest telecoms operator Belgacom.

‘Der Spiegel’ bases it assertion on documents from the American whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

It was already known that British intelligence was behind the hacking of Belgacom’s servers. Now more details have come to light about how GCHQ was able to do so.

The British intelligence agency used the “Quantum Insert” method to install spyware on Belgcom’s servers via copies of sites such as LinkedIn and Mach (a site similar to PayPal).

Employees at Belgacom were lured to bogus copies of the LinkedIn site enabling GCHQ to install spyware on their computers. Only Belgacom’s cable internet network was hit by the British spies. The telecom company’s mobile network was not hacked.

The hacking enable GCHQ to gather information about the Belgacom as a company and about the individual staff member on whose computers the spyware was installed.

According to the same document, the British used the same method to hack computers at OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

Did LinkedIn help GCHQ?

Der Spiegel contacted LinkedIn to ask how much those running the site knew about GCHQ’s operation. A spokesman for the site condemned the British intelligence service’s action. “We would never approve something like this, whatever its aim. We knew nothing”.

The payment site Mach has launched an investigation.