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Further evidence of mistrust between "traditional allies"

Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.”

Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.”

The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.”

Ronald Prins, a security expert whose company Fox IT was hired to remove the malware from Belgacom’s networks, told The Intercept that it was 'the most sophisticated malware' he had ever studied.

In a hacking mission codenamed Operation Socialist, GCHQ gained access to Belgacom’s internal systems in 2010 by targeting engineers at the company. The agency secretly installed so-called malware 'implants' on the employees’ computers by sending their internet connection to a fake LinkedIn page. The malicious LinkedIn page launched a malware attack, infecting the employees’ computers and giving the spies total control of their systems, allowing GCHQ to get deep inside Belgacom’s networks to steal data.

The implants allowed GCHQ to conduct surveillance of internal Belgacom company communications and gave British spies the ability to gather data from the company’s network and customers, which include the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council.

Based on an analysis of the malware samples, Regin appears to have been developed over the course of more than a decade; The Intercept has identified traces of its components dating back as far as 2003. Regin was mentioned at a recent Hack.lu conference in Luxembourg, and Symantec’s report on Sunday said the firm had identified Regin on infected systems operated by private companies, government entities, and research institutes in countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Ireland, Belgium, and Iran.

Der Spiegel reported that, according to Snowden documents, the computer networks of the European Union were infiltrated by the NSA in the months before the first discovery of Regin.

Further info and detailed analysis of the malware:


Related:


A second consequence for the US deep state would be the loss of Europe in the new Cold War. Except from Britons, who have traditional deep ties and common interests with the US, the rest of Europe could slip to the Sino-Russian bloc which grows rapidly in the military and economic field and increasingly gaining independence from the Western economic system, attracting other countries too.

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