According to Belgian publication De Tijd (registration required), Johan Vande Lanotte, the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of economic affairs, has confirmed that the department’s systems have been breached.
A complaint has been filed with the public prosecutor and an investigation has been launched. Officials haven’t commented on the incident, but it appears that the attackers, probably a foreign intelligence service, have used a sophisticated piece of malware designed for cyber espionage.
Earlier this week, De Tijd reported that Belgium’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the victim of a sophisticated attack that targeted documents and information related to the crisis in Ukraine. Russia is considered the main suspect.
The Belgian government has been the target of numerous cyberattacks over the past months. A different suspect was named each time.
Back in September 2013, when the systems of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were breached and information on the country’s foreign policy was stolen, sources close to the investigation revealed that the United States National Security Agency was the top suspect.
That particular attack relied on a piece of malware planted on the ministry’s networks since early 2012. Belgium’s prime minister was also targeted by hackers on at least two occasions in the past years.