According to Belgian media, an investigation has been launched to determine the extent of the damage and identify the attackers. While officials haven’t provided too many details on the attack, L’Echo and De Tijd have learned that the cyber operation is said to have been carried out by Russian actors.
The attack has been detected by the Military Intelligence Service, which is assisting the investigation.
This isn’t the first time Belgium’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs suffers a data breach. Back in September 2013, officials revealed that information on the country’s foreign policy had been stolen in a high-tech espionage operation.
At the time, the attackers relied on a piece of malware that had resided on the ministry’s networks since early 2012. Authorities refrained from pointing the finger, but sources close to the investigation revealed that the United States National Security Agency was among the top suspects.
A similar piece of malware was used to steal information from the office of Belgium’s Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo. The Prime Minister was targeted on at least two occasions, in August 2012 and October 2013. The cybercriminal operation that took place in October was a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack.
Following the attacks, Belgian authorities have decided to invest €10 million ($13 million) to strengthen the security of the country’s institutions.