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US and UK spy agencies accused of swoop on Belgian cryptography expert

Not little snooping cells
Mon Feb 03 2014, 13:12

SPYING AGENCIES the US NSA and UK GCHQ have been accused of a hacking attack on a Belgian cryptography expert in one of the latest internet spying revelations.

Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported that professor Jean-Jacques Quisquater is the latest victim to be named in the scandal and that his personal computer fell victim to the spooks.

"A new Belgian episode in the NSA scandal: Belgian professor Jean-Jacques Quisquater, internationally renowned expert in data security was the victim of hacking," it reported.

"And, as was the case in the Belgacom hacking affair, there are indications the American secret service NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ might be involved."

The attack on the 67 year old Quisquater, who is a professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain, was uncovered during the Belgacom hacking investigations. According to De Standaard, the professor has lodged a formal complaint.

The newspaper reported that both attacks used similar methods, and explained that the professor was lured into a trap through a socially engineered fake Linkedin message.

The message purported to come from the European patent office. Quisquater holds 17 patents dating back to 2007.

In an email to the Gigaom news website Quisquater confirmed that the police alerted him to the intrusion and that he was acting on its information.

"The Belgian federal police (FCCU) sent me a warning about this attack and did the analysis," he said, adding that the motive remains unknown.

"We don't know [why]. There are many hypotheses (about 12 or 15) but it is certainly an industrial espionage plus a surveillance of people working about civilian cryptography." µ


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